Briefcases at airshow lead to arrest

Sunday, May 19, 2002

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- A man was arrested Saturday after he entered an airshow at the Chattanooga airport without proper identification while carrying two suspicious briefcases.

Workers were evacuated and spectators were kept outside the gates until a bomb squad detonated the briefcases, Chattanooga Police spokesman Ed Buice said.

"I am told that the briefcases did not contain any explosives this morning, but indications are that they may have contained explosives at some point," Buice said.

The man, whose name was not released, had made threats toward the show, but gained entry despite the fact security staffers were on the lookout for him, authorities said.

Buice said the man would be charged with criminal impersonation and criminal trespass.

The briefcases were found on a runway and parking lot near a hangar at Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, just before the start of the show of military planes, Buice said.

Authorities spotted the man and he was detained for questioning by the FBI and local authorities. The gates were later opened and the show went on as scheduled, Buice said.

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