A 29-year-old Pennsylvania was detained by the Transportation Security Administration at Philadelphia International Airport after trying to go through security with M-80 fireworks and a water bottle filled with flash powder, according to TSA officials.
He is federally charged him with attempting to carry on an explosive device on a plane.
TSA agents found the explosive items in Joseph Picklo's carry-on luggage around 5:45 a.m. Thursday, said police.
Investigators described the fireworks as a couple of commercial-grade M-80s and flash powder.
Picklo, a self-described independent salesman from Dallas, Pa. (outside Wilkes Barre), was planning to board a US Airways flight to San Francisco. The plane was not in danger and took off almost on time, said investigators.
Authorities say Picklo told them that he had a reason for having the fireworks in his baggage.
"He says that he has an interest in these items professionally and that he experiments with items and that he had forgotten they were in his luggage," said police Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan.
Philly cops arrested Picklo and then turned him over to federal custody. The federal charge he faces carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, according to federal prosecutors.
He never got close to an airplane and there was never any real threat to passengers, according to officials.
"The point that I want to stress here is that the male who was in possession of these destructive devices did not make it through screening," said Sullivan.
TSA officers received further praise for catching the explosive items.
"The training and alertness of the officers at the Philadelphia checkpoint prevented these items from being brought on board an aircraft," said Philadelphia TSA Federal Security Director Robert Ellis.
The D/E gates security checkpoint was temporarily shut down and a bomb disposal unit was called to inspect the device before the all clear was given around 6:25 a.m. During that time all passengers were diverted to the C-gate security checkpoint, according to authorities.
There were no major delays caused by the incident.