Airport bombs a prank, cops say
LOS ANGELES — A baggage handler arrested when dry ice bombs exploded at Los Angeles International Airport planted the devices as a prank, police said on Wednesday.
The motive was disclosed a day after the arrest of Dicarlo Bennett, a 28-year-old employee for the ground handling company Servisair.
“I think we can safely say he is not a terrorist or an organized crime boss. He did this for his own amusement,” said Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Michael Downing, who heads the department's counter-terrorism and special operations bureau.
No one was hurt on Sunday when two plastic bottles packed with dry ice exploded in an employee bathroom and on the airport's tarmac. An unexploded device was found on Monday night.
As a result of the incident, airport officials plan to meet with law enforcement authorities to examine potential security enhancements at one of the nation's busiest airports.
The meeting will explore the handling of dry ice and other hazardous materials and possible improvements to those procedures.
Arif Alikhan, deputy executive director for homeland security and law enforcement at Los Angeles World Airports, said such meetings are routine in response to problems.
“We'll look at all layers of security existing at the airport, including technology, physical infrastructure, the partnership of tenants, awareness of employees to potential hazardous items like dry ice,” Alikhan said.
Workers at the airport must pass a criminal background check before they can get a security badge for access to restricted areas, LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles said.
On Tuesday, police arrested Bennett, who was booked for possession of a destructive device near an aircraft and held on $1 million bail.
It was not immediately clear whether Bennett had a lawyer. A message left at a phone number listed at an address for Bennett was not returned.
Despite the arrest, travelers saw stepped-up security patrols at all terminals as well as the airfield, Los Angeles airport police spokeswoman Belinda Nettles said.
Dry ice is routinely used by aircraft catering companies and restaurants to keep perishable food safe.
Bennett took dry ice from a plane and placed a loaded bottle in an employee bathroom, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation who wasn't authorized to speak publicly and asked to remain anonymous.
The commotion caused by the explosion delayed several flights. Remnants of another device were found the same night on a tarmac outside the main international terminal.
Police had pursued a theory that the bombs were placed by a disgruntled employee because of a labor dispute.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Baltimore on edge: National Guardsmen take up positions
- Supreme Court hears historic same-sex marriage arguments
- Study a surprise: Commercial bees unfazed by pesticides
- ‘Organic’ tag on water-raised produce raises ire
- Obamacare contraception ruling thrown out
- Riot erupts in Baltimore after funeral for man hurt in police custody
- Hungry sea lion lunges for trophy fish, pulling proud angler into bay
- Cardinal Francis George of Chicago dead at 78
- U.S. lowers fluoride in water; too much causing splotchy teeth
- Top Tulsa sheriff’s aide quits under fire
- Man formally charged with murder of Indiana student