January 31, 2012
A New York airport screener who removed two pipes from a traveler’s bag and set them aside Monday morning prompted a security scare six hours later when the next shift saw the pipes and feared they might be pipe bombs, local and federal officials said.
The incident at New York’s LaGuardia Airport began at 11:30 a.m. when a screener discovered unidentifiable items inside a passenger’s carry-on bag. The officer screened the item for explosives, determined them not to be a threat and cleared the passenger through the checkpoint, a Transportation Security Administration official said.
But the officer prevented the metal item from going through because of its “material and appearance,” a TSA official said.
When the next shift arrived, one officer saw the items and mistakenly believed they were test objects, used to check screener proficiency. When that officer later learned they were not test items, the officer alerted others, and the TSA contacted the Port Authority Police Department, responsible for protecting the airport.