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Man in Kansas City airport bomb scare has detention hearing

Thursday, September 15, 2011 | 7:43 a.m. CDT; updated 10:28 a.m. CDT, Thursday, September 15, 2011

KANSAS CITY — A hearing was scheduled for Thursday to determine whether a Pennsylvania man will continue to be detained on charges that he tried to take a fake bomb through security at Kansas City International Airport on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and said things that made agents believe his carry-on baggage contained an explosive device.

Anthony Falco, 47, whose last known address is a post office box in East Petersburg, Pa., is accused of making false statements to federal agents and trying to bring items simulating an explosive device through security. A federal magistrate overseeing Thursday's hearing could decide to allow Falco to be released on bond or may determine that he should continue to be held.

Falco was taken into custody Sunday after security screeners noticed something suspicious in his carry-on bag as it went through an X-ray machine. According to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent, Falco refused to open the bag when screeners asked him to do so and told them, "You guys are going to be sorry if you open those packages."

A large portion of Terminal B — one of three terminals at KCI — was closed for several hours Sunday while law enforcement searched the terminal and used a high-pressure water cannon to blast the suspicious packages, which were heavily wrapped in tape inside Falco's baggage.

No explosives were found, and the terminal was reopened around 3:30 p.m. At least two flights were canceled, and many others, both incoming and outgoing, were delayed because of the situation.

At a hearing Monday, Falco said claims that he had made threatening remarks were lies. He said he had taped electronic devices like a cell phone and iPod together so they wouldn't get misplaced.

According to the affidavit, Falco's mother told investigators that her son had suffered from mental illness in the past and had recently stopped taking his medication.

Falco's court-appointed attorney, Laine Cardarella, didn't return a message from The Associated Press on Wednesday.


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Comments

Ellis Smith September 15, 2011 | 4:29 p.m.

Once, long before 9/11, I got caught in a situation something like this. I arrived at the Pittsburgh airport with a checked bag and a carry-on bag. In the carry-on bag were four two inch cubes of a pitch-bonded ceramic material* that I'd been asked to take with me to Missouri for some testing. Without thinking about it I put the samples in my carry-on bag.

When the bag went through X-ray all hell broke loose! In short order I had two airport security guards and a uniformed Pennsylvania State Trooper in my face.

I didn't make the mistake the guy in the above article made. I readily opened the bag, displayed the samples and attempted to explain that while I could see how the cubes might look suspicious they were in fact harmless.

I supplied phone numbers, and calls were made. In due time I was allowed to go to a boarding area - with my samples (I don't think THAT would happen today). My flight had meanwhile left for St. Louis (with my checked bag on it), but this was when TWA was still operating and it wasn't long before there was another flight.

*- The material was called pericalse. The product was used in steelmaking furnaces.

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