Police detained nine TV crew members for allegedly trying to sneak a fake bomb through a security checkpoint at New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport as part of a CNBC reality show, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) revealed, noting that the forged item “had all of the makings” of a pipe bomb.
The fake bomb was made out of “motor, wires and PVC pipes,” all of which are “indicators of an improvised explosive device [IED] such as a pipe bomb,” reported TSA, a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Citing a law enforcement source, NJ.com revealed that the TV crew may be charged with creating a false public alarm, conspiracy, and interference with transportation.
Some of the production team members “attempted to intentionally carry through the security checkpoint an item in a carry-on bag that had all of the makings of an improvised explosive device. At the same time, others in the group covertly filmed the encounter,” noted TSA in a press release.
The group failed to make it past the checkpoint manned by TSA and were ultimately arrested by Port Authority Police on multiple charges. TSA revealed that the group may also face civil penalties.
“Transportation security is serious business. Our officers did an excellent job in detecting the device and following protocol once it was identified. I am proud of the way it was handled by our TSA team, by the Port Authority Police, and our Federal law enforcement partners,” declared Tom Carter, the federal security director for TSA’s New Jersey branch, adding:
This type of stunt is reckless, dangerous, uninformed and totally insensitive to the reality of the terror threat we face. It is the equivalent to yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater or using a toy gun to rob a bank and then claiming that it was just a toy, just to see what happens. There is simply no excuse for trying to do something like this knowing it had the great potential to cause panic with the intention of turning that panic into a reality show. The reality is that all of these individuals were arrested and face heavy civil penalties as well.
The production company, identified as Endemol Shine North America, apologized for any disruption in connection to the incident.
In a statement, the company said it is investigating the incident and working with authorities, further adding, “We sincerely apologize for any disruption caused.”
“We are looking into the details of what happened as a matter of priority and are in contact with relevant authorities on the ground. While this process is ongoing we are unable to comment further but in the meantime, we sincerely apologize for any disruption caused,” Julie Holland, a spokesperson for Endemol Shine North America, said in a statement, according to NJ.com.
TSA did not release the names of the the people who were arrested.