Sunday, December 10, 2017
Business

Authorities: Man at Jacksonville airport said he had bomb; screeners found luggage scale, 'detonator'

JACKSONVILLE — Authorities said a man arrested at Jacksonville International Airport told security screeners he had a bomb in his backpack but they only found a luggage scale with a microchip inside, along with a remote control device he called a "detonator."

Zeljko Causevic, 39, was booked into jail early Wednesday and was being held without bail on charges that included making a false report about planting a bomb or explosive and manufacturing, possessing, selling or delivering a hoax bomb, according to an arrest report.

The arrest report indicates Causevic approached a TSA agent Tuesday and said he had a bomb in his bag. The TSA agents notified authorities. Airport spokesman Michael Stewart said Causevic was detained between 5:30 and 6 p.m. The airport was evacuated and flights were stopped before reaching the gates. Passengers were displaced for nearly five hours.

Causevic was scheduled to appear in court in Jacksonville at 1 p.m. An arrest report indicated he is originally from Bosnia.

Another person was arrested after officials say he started acting suspiciously but authorities said he was not connected to Causevic.

The airport was back to normal operation Wednesday morning.

Passengers and people who arrived at the airport to pick them up Tuesday evening were stranded for hours as officials investigated.

Authorities said some incoming planes were held up on the tarmac until buses arrived to pick up passengers. The passengers were shuttled to nearby hotels.

Arlie Gentry was on a Southwest flight arriving from New York via Baltimore just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"We moved from one spot on the runway to another spot," said Gentry, who was reached on his cellphone while still on the plane. "They told us we couldn't get off the plane."

Gentry said the pilots initially told passengers they didn't know what was going on.

While the delay was cumbersome and bothersome, Gentry said everyone on his plane remained calm. He said he was never really concerned for his safety, because the plane remained so far from the terminal.

Around 9:30 p.m., a bus arrived to take the passengers on Gentry's flight to a nearby hotel.

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