April 3, 2008

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Stolen airline life vest causes scare at Stewart

This is the image security personnel saw

STEWART AIRPORT – There were some harrowing moments at Stewart Airport Tuesday night when a man passed through security screening with what appeared to be a bomb in his carry-on bag.

Screeners saw the vest on their x-ray and considered it to be a suspicious package because of its interior construction which contained metal cartridges, wiring and batteries that closely resemble bomb components.

Justin Braun, 26, of Columbus, OH, was charged with criminal nuisance in the second degree and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree.

At about 10:25 p.m. on April 1, Braun was stopped by Transportation Security Administration screeners at Stewart for having a suspicious item in his carry-on baggage. He was scheduled to fly from Stewart to Columbus on Skybus Airlines.

The investigation conducted by New York State Police in conjunction with the FBI, JTT, TSA and Port Authority management at Stewart revealed Braun had stolen an inflatable life vest from the interior of a plane during a previous flight into Stewart last week.

He had the vest in his luggage while going through security Tuesday night, said State Police Lt. Pierce Gallagher.

The package was removed and examined by the State Police Bomb Disposal Unit. The passenger terminal was evacuated and resumed normal operation about an hour later.

Braun was arraigned and remanded to the Orange County Jail in lieu of $3,000 bail.


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