Bomb-resembling clock becomes rude awakening for traveler

Friday, July 12, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- A $10 alarm clock packed away in a man's luggage looked enough like a bomb to startle an airline worker and prompt a rude awakening for the traveler at Lambert Airport.

The orange-and-black plastic clock -- built to vaguely resemble six sticks of dynamite wired to a timing device -- was discovered Monday in the passenger's checked luggage by an American Airlines worker doing a random hand search of luggage.

Powered by AA batteries, the clock had three wires running from the clock into one of the orange plastic tubes.

Though the discovery didn't cause a major stir in the main terminal, the airline worker who found the clock called police, who brought in a bomb-sniffing dog as a precaution and took the man into custody for possibly disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor.

The man was released after being questioned, police said, and no charges have been filed as of Wednesday.

The traveler told police he and his family were rushing to pack for their flight to Orlando, Fla., and that he put the clock in the checked luggage without giving it much thought.

American Airlines spokeswoman Julia Bishop-Cross said the matter did not cause the St. Louis-to-Florida flight to be delayed.

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