Man Arrested After Detroit Airport Security Breach

Man Arrested After Detroit Airport Security Breach

Published February 18, 2010

ROMULUS, Mich. (AP) -- A portion of a terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport was evacuated Monday after a man without a boarding pass walked through a passenger screening checkpoint and refused to obey security officers, officials said.

The man failed to stop about 7:45 a.m. at the McNamara Terminal, the Transportation Security Administration said. He was subdued by airport police after a stun gun failed to stop him, an FBI agent said.

In a criminal complaint filed with U.S. District Court in Detroit, FBI agent Michael Thomas said the man, identified as Kaylan L. Policherla, walked through the checkpoint and a metal detector with his hands in his jacket pockets.

Transportation Security Administration workers activated an alarm, security doors were lowered at the portion of the terminal between the security checkpoint and terminal concourse, and people were evacuated from that area, airport spokesman Mike Conway said.

A TSA screener followed Policherla until airport police arrived and ordered him to stop, Thomas said. An officer discharged a Taser at Policherla but it had no effect, and officers then wrestled him to the floor and handcuffed him, Thomas said.

Dogs were used to search the portion of the terminal that had been evacuated, but nothing was found, Conway said. Security screening resumed about an hour later, officials said.

The complaint alleges that Policherla violated federal security requirements. Policherla remained in custody Monday evening, but a court appearance was not immediately scheduled, FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said.

The complaint said Policherla was born in 1982 and his car, a Volkswagen Passat with Ohio license plates, was illegally parked outside the McNamara Terminal before he entered the building. The vehicle was searched and towed.

Further information about Policherla was not immediately available, Berchtold said.

It wasn't clear why the man was at the airport, Conway said.

The FBI was looking into the security breach, Berchtold said, but she couldn't release details.

People evacuated from the terminal during the incident were screened again, forcing hundreds to be screened twice or wait to get to flights. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc., which is the primary carrier at the terminal, reported minimal flight delays.

The breach followed a boost in airline and airports security after a Nigerian man allegedly tried to ignite a bomb on a Christmas Day flight to Detroit from Amsterdam. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has been charged with attempting to blow up the plane that had nearly 300 passengers and crew aboard.

Written by The Associated Press


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