PHILADELPHIA — A Pennsylvania man was arrested and faces a federal charge after screeners found him trying to take powerful fireworks onto a cross-country flight Thursday morning, authorities said.
Joseph Picklo, 29, of Dallas, Pa., had "commercial grade M-80s" in a backpack when passing through security at Philadelphia International Airport around 5:30 a.m. as he was about to board a flight to San Francisco, Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan said at a news conference.
The bag also contained a plastic bottle wrapped in electrical tape and partially filled with a powdery mixture and a test tube filled with another powdery substance, which also included a wick, according to a federal criminal complaint. Picklo is accused of violating federal law by attempting to carry an explosive device onto an aircraft, the complaint said.
Picklo was stopped after screeners noticed an "anomaly" in the backpack, Sullivan said, noting that he never got through security and no one was ever in danger.
"He says that he has an interest in these items professionally," Sullivan said. The situation remains under investigation by local and federal investigators, but authorities said the explosives may have been left in a bag accidentally.
A phone listing for Picklo could not immediately be located.
Picklo indicated he forgot that the items were in his bag, investigators said.
No flights were delayed, airport spokeswoman Victoria Lupica said. The checkpoint was reopened shortly before 6:30 a.m., according to the TSA.
TSA officials commended the screeners for detecting the items before they got on the plane.
"The training and alertness of the officers at the Philadelphia checkpoint prevented these items from being brought on board an aircraft," Philadelphia TSA Federal Security Director Robert Ellis said in a statement.?