TV crew attempts to pass fake bomb through airport security

Posted: Updated:
(TSA) A photo of the suspicious item found inside of the carry-on bag of a TV crew that was detected by TSA officers at Newark Liberty International Airport. (TSA) A photo of the suspicious item found inside of the carry-on bag of a TV crew that was detected by TSA officers at Newark Liberty International Airport.
NEWARK -

A crew working for a California-based production company attempted to test Newark Liberty International Airport security but ended up getting arrested instead.

According to officials the TV crew tried to pass a fake bomb through airport security in Terminal C. Other members of the crew were secretly videotaping the encounter, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

But TSA crews did notice what was in the luggage and nine members of the TV crew were arrested.

“It shows that they’re on the ball,” says traveler Ira Cohen. “This is what we want them to do, right?”

The TSA says that the carry-on bag contained the makings for an improvised explosive device, including a motor, wires and PVC pipes.

"This type of stunt is reckless, dangerous, uninformed and totally insensitive to the reality of the terror threat we face,” said Tom Carter, TSA’s federal security director for New Jersey. “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 crew facing charges was identified as: 

  • Ruben M. Montenegro, 44, of Staten Island, New York
  • Samuel Micah Berns, 39, of Hollywood, California
  • Jacob M. Towsley, 34, of Portageville, New York
  • Michael L. Palmer, 51, Staten Island, New York
  • William Oaks, 36, of Brooklyn, New York
  • Philip K. Nakagami, 26, of Jersey City
  • Carlos F. Gonzalez, 33, of Queens, New York
  • Timothy S. Duffy, 34, of Sparta
  • Adolfo Lacola, 51, of Staten Island, New York

Travelers inside Newark Liberty tell News 12 New Jersey that security is always on their mind while making their way through the airport.

“I think it's great that they caught them. Those of us who travel a lot, we think about it. Sometimes we take it for granted,” says flyer Phil Vaccaro.

"I think we all have concerns but we go along with our lives and we do the best we can,” Mindy Cohen says.

Charges against the production crew include causing a false public alarm, interference with transportation and conspiracy. They face up to $13,000 in fines for each charge.

The crew worked for Los Angeles-based production company Endemol Shine North America. The company produces reality and other television shows.

A representative for the company did not respond to a request for comment.

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