Pennsylvania Terror Scares

Title: Terror Scare Puts Spotlight On Philadelphia
October 29, 2010
CBS Philadelphia

Abstract: Authorities isolated five cargo planes both locally and abroad following a scare involving suspicious packages that originated in Yemen. The White House says President Barack Obama was notified about a potential terrorist threat Thursday night after the packages were discovered aboard a plane in England and Dubai.

As a result of the discovery, additional security measures were taken and two UPS cargo planes at Philadelphia International Airport and a plane in Newark, New Jersey were detained Friday morning.

President Obama called the attacks a “credible terrorist threat.”

The Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and other local and federal agencies are investigating the incidents that began when a UPS plane in East Midlands, England, and a FedEx plane in Dubai, were found to have suspicious packages on board.

“Based on close cooperation among U.S. government agencies and with our foreign allies and partners, authorities were able to identify and examine two suspicious packages,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

The packages were found on the planes that were bound for synagogues in Chicago, Illinois and were part of approximately 10 to 20 that originated out of Yemen.

A U.S. official tells CBS News that the package on the UPS cargo plane in East Midlands contained a toner cartridge rigged to look like a device, with a syringe, white powder, wiring and cell phone components, but the device tested negative for explosives. A CBS News law enforcement source says that preliminary indications are that TATP was an identified ingredient, which was an element used by the Christmas Day bomber. TATP is a potentially potent explosive mixture that needs an ignition source to become a bomb.

This modified ink cartridge was found on a flight headed from Yemen to Chicago. Authorities say it tested negative for explosives. (credit: CBS News)

The other packages were believed to have made their way onto planes that departed Cologne, Germany en route to the United States. Two of the planes out of Cologne landed in Philadelphia Friday morning and were immediately detained and the cargo was searched.

Another plane landed at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, but the cargo was offloaded before the plane could be searched.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released a statement and said, “Out of an abundance of caution, local law enforcement evacuated the UPS cargo facilities at both airports (Philadelphia and Newark) and the planes were moved to remote locations where they were met by law enforcement officials. After security sweeps, both planes and their cargo have been cleared.”

As a precaution, authorities stopped a UPS truck on the Queensboro Bridge in New York to search the packages that were picked up at Newark airport. The truck was later cleared.

A UPS spokesperson says they are cooperating with authorities as they investigate the incidents.

At this time, there is no direct connection to the threats in Europe. Yemen remains a concern because it is the home of the al-Qaida branch that claimed responsibility for an attempted bombing of a U.S. bound airliner on Christmas day 2009.

“At this stage, the American people should know that the counter-terrorism professionals are taking this threat very seriously and are taking all necessary and prudent steps to ensure our security,” President Obama said.

Operations at Philadelphia International Airport were not affected and no delays were reported (CBS Philadelphia, 2010).

Title: Man Arrested At Philadelphia International Airport After Allegedly Trying To Pass Security With Homemade Bomb
March 29, 2012
Fox News

A 29-year-old man told authorities he had an “oh, s---“ moment when he realized he was carrying homemade fireworks on board a San Francisco-bound plane early Thursday morning at Philadelphia International Airport, reported.

The Dallas, Pa. man was arrested after he allegedly tried to pass through the security gate with what was described by officials as a homemade bomb, the report said.

A background check of the suspect shows no initial ties to any terror group. The suspect told authorities that he was “just fooling around” with the explosives and forgot they were in his backpack. The bottle was reportedly filled with powder commonly found in fireworks.

He is reportedly accused of trying to board a plane with a plastic bottle of explosives and is being questioned by airport police.

Passengers on the 6 a.m.-flight to San Francisco were re-routed to another gate. The airport was not shutdown and there are no delays (Fox News, 2012).

Title: Skin Infections Postpone High School Football Game
Date: September 30, 2012
MyFox Philly

Abstract: The big game against Pennsbury H.S. was canceled due to a MRSA outbreak. But students we spoke with say the school is taking the necessary precautions to make sure this skin condition stops in its tracks.

At first David Haun thought he had turf burn.  But it turns out, he had something worse. 

"It's not as itchy as poison ivy it's just a little itch like every once and a while you just wanna scratch at it."

Haun and nearly a third of the Council Rock South football team have a skin condition known as MRSA, a staph infection affecting the skin.

Not just itchy... But contagious.. And the school isn't taking the situation lightly.

In an email to the entire school community.. Principal Albert Funk explained the issue.. And that they were postponing their game against Pennsbury High School.

Players like Greg Paprocki have been lucky. No sign of MRSA so far, but worried he might be next. 

"I was very paranoid checking my body all over like every cut I was looking at it getting it checked out by the trainer just very very paranoid"

In the meantime, the entire school will be completely sanitized, especially the locker rooms, weight room and shower facilities.   Athletes in other sports were told to take home their gear as well.

FOX29 has been told that all of the players who have been affected have been cleared by their doctors to play in Monday night's makeup game (MyFox Philly, 2012).

Title: Philly Prankster Charged In Airport Terror Hoax
November 6, 2012

A birthday prank that spiraled out of control has resulted in federal terrorism charges for a Philadelphia man.

Kenneth W. Smith Jr., 26, allegedly called police at Philadelphia International Airport on Sept. 6 and claimed that a passenger was trying to smuggle explosives on a flight to Texas.

The intended victim of the terror hoax, Smith's friend Christopher Shell, was celebrating his 29th birthday. Shell was aboard a US Airways flight to Dallas-Fort Worth, only 30 minutes out of Philadelphia, when the plane was ordered to return to the airport.

On an isolated portion of the runway, Shell was led from the plane in handcuffs and into a waiting car. A bomb-sniffing dog was taken on board the plane but found no explosives. Shell was cleared, reboarded, and the aircraft took off more than three hours after its scheduled departure time.

Smith was charged by federal authorities today with making malicious false information about an explosive and false information and hoaxes, announced U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger. If convicted, Smith faces up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000 and restitution costs to the airlines (, 2012).