Homeless man causes bomb scare at LaGuardia Airport in New York City

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The main terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York City was evacuated early Friday morning after a man caused a bomb scare. Authorities say a homeless man named Scott McGann, 32, was arrested after he presented a device resembling a bomb attached to a duffel bag. McGann entered the airport around 5:00 a.m. (EDT).

Authorities received at least two calls that McGann was "acting crazy". When he approached security, police tried to approach him. McGann then presented a trigger device and began to press it. When there was no explosion, police tackled McGann and confiscated the duffel bag. When police searched the bag, they found wires and batteries connected together on the outside of the bag, but no explosive material. Authorities called the device a hoax, that McGann wanted others to think was a bomb.

"It was a hoax device. Clearly, it appeared he wanted people to think that's what he had," said Paul Browne, a public relations officer for the New York Police Department. Police also confiscated a plane ticket which was valid for travel from NYC to Oakland, California via United Airlines. Authorities say he has relatives in California. Other personal items were also recovered from the bag, according to CNN.

Authorities continued to evacuate the terminal even after McGann was arrested and began to search the area. Authorities closed main roads to the airport and canceled or delayed flights while the search was conducted. After a four hour search that found nothing threatening, authorities began to reopen the terminal.

According to the NYC District Attorneys Office, McGann is being charged with placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the first degree, making terrorist threats, and placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in a transportation facility. Authorities say McGann has lived on the streets of NYC for at least one year, and has been arrested at least three times in that period. CNN states that McGann's last arrest was in June of this year. He was charged with resisting arrest and tampering with police evidence.