Flicking lighter on jet gets teenager arrested

Monday, August 5, 2002

PITTSBURGH -- A 17-year-old Canadian passenger on a US Airways flight from Toronto was arrested for using a lighter on his shoe, authorities said.

The teen told police he was burning loose material off his tennis shoes as the plane taxied into Pittsburgh International Airport Saturday. The boy's father was seated next to him.

Authorities said the teen would not be identified because of his age. He was cited for disorderly conduct and released into the custody of his father, said Allegheny County Police Sgt. Robert Clark.

Federal authorities interviewed the boy and his father after a flight attendant found the boy flicking a butane lighter and took it away from him, Clark said.

Police met the plane at the terminal around 8 p.m. and checked the roughly 40 passengers on board, according to KDKA-TV.

"There is no such thing as a joke at an airport anymore," Clark said.

Police said the boy and his father were connecting in Pittsburgh on a flight to California, but US Airways asked them to make other travel arrangements.

In another incident, FBI agents arrested a man early Sunday for allegedly trying to pass through a security checkpoint at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with razor blades in his shoes.

The man had set off a metal detector Saturday night and when he removed his shoes, as requested, four razor blades fell to the floor, airport spokesman Bob Parker said.

He told authorities the blades fell from his shirt pocket when he bent over, Parker said.

The 29-year-old's name was not released. He was being held on investigation of a state weapons charge.

An FBI agent in Seattle said no one was available to comment.

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