Airport Employee Arrested in LAX Dry Ice Explosions

Dry ice bombs were found in an employee restroom and on the tarmac at LAX

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A suspect in the dry ice bombings at Los Angeles International Airport is arrested at his apartment. Neighbors react to the arrest. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Wednesday Oct. 16, 2013.

    A 28-year-old baggage handler who works at Los Angeles International Airport was arrested Tuesday  in connection with dry ice explosions that prompted emergency responses at LAX for two nights in a row.

    Dicarlo Bennett, a 28-year-old Servisair baggage handler from Paramount, Calif., -- about 15 miles east of the airport -- was arrested at about 7 p.m. PT Tuesday at his apartment on suspicion of exploding a destructive device near an aircraft. His bail was set at $1 million.

    FBI Investigates "Dry Ice Bomb" at LAX

    [LA] FBI Investigates "Dry Ice Bomb" at LAX
    An apparent dry ice bomb explosion in a Los Angeles International Airport restroom Sunday night prompted the airport to halt departing flights for hours while police investigated, authorities said. Gadi Schwartz reports from LAX for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013.

    Details regarding a court date and when charges will be filed were not immediately available.

    An official told the AP that Bennett allegedly took the dry ice from a plane and placed it in an employee restroom Sunday night and another device that was found on a tarmac outside the international terminal.

    More Dry Ice Bombs at LAX

    [LA] More Dry Ice Bombs at LAX
    One ice bomb exploded at LAX, and two others were found at the Tom Bradley Terminal. Gadi Schwartz reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2013.

    Police had previously said they didn't believe the explosions were an act of terror but could be the work of a disgruntled employee.

    No one was injured in either incident.Three dry ice bombs were found on the tarmac outside of Los Angeles International Airport Monday night, prompting a bomb squad response as the FBI probed an explosion by the same type of bomb at LAX just one night earlier.

    A bomb - a relatively harmless and simple device made of a plastic bottle and dry ice - went off about 8:30 p.m., said LAPD Detective Gus Villanueva. No injuries were immediately reported. Though harmless from afar, someone could get hurt if they were close enough, airport officials said.

    Officials confirmed a suspicious item drew emergency crews to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. Three dry ice bombs were found outside the terminal on the tarmac -- a location only accessible to badge-carrying employees with authority and clearance to work in the area.

    Initial reports indicated one of the bombs was found under a plane, but airport police said that was not the case. One airplane was evacuated - but only a cleaning crew was on board.

    The items were discovered near a gate shared by several airlines.

    Flights did not appear to be affected Monday.

    Servisair released a statement Wednesday: "We are aware of the arrest of Dicarlo Bennett as a suspect in the recent incidents at LAX. All we can confirm at this point is that he was an employee of Servisair at the time of incident. We're cooperating with authorities and will continue to monitor the situation closely. It is important at this early stage to allow law enforcement to continue their investigation and we have no further comment at this time."

    Monday's incident follows a similar one on Sunday night, when, at 7 p.m., a dry ice bomb went off in an empty bathroom in a restricted area. No injuries were reported, but several flights were delayed for hours Sunday night.

    Police did not immediately discuss possible motives, but the former chief of Homeland Security for airport police told NBC4 before the arrest that a likely objective was disruption of airport operations.

    "The motivation certainly does not suggest terrorism," said Erroll Southers, now an adjunct professor of Homeland Security and Public Policy at the University of Southern California. "It does suggest, at least, vandalism -- trying to disrupt the airport, trying to get someone's attention, which they did."

    In May, a dry ice bomb exploded in a trash can in Disneyland's Toontown area. No one was hurt, but part of the park was evacuated and a Disneyland employee was later arrested on suspicion of placing the device.

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