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Film Crew Busted Trying to Sneak Fake Bomb Past Security, TSA Says

It was allegedly working on a story for CNBC.

by River Donaghey
Jan 19 2018, 7:39pm

Image of the fake explosive via TSA

The TSA may have a pretty stellar social media presence, but it often has trouble actually detecting threats. Last year, undercover agents found that the TSA missed about 80 percent of potential security tests.

As disturbing as that might be, it still means the TSA catches 20 percent of the people trying to bring hidden swords or whatever onto planes—so it's probably not a good idea to try to sneak fake bomb supplies in your luggage to prove the TSA's incompetence—something a TV film crew at Newark Airport apparently tried and failed to do Thursday.

According to New Jersey's Star-Ledger, TSA agents arrested at least seven people trying to smuggle a fake bomb through airport security, reportedly as part of a story for CNBC. The fake explosive was hidden inside a suitcase and apparently looked like a pipe bomb, with fake wires sticking out of it, a source told the Star-Ledger.

The film crew "attempted to intentionally carry through the security checkpoint an item in a carry-on bag that had all of the makings of an improvised explosive device," a TSA spokeswoman, Lisa Farbstein, wrote in a press release following the arrest. "At the same time, others in the group covertly filmed the encounter."

Though a bomb specialist determined that the device was not actually dangerous, the entire group was taken into custody and may now face charges related to conspiracy and creating a false alarm, along with fines up to $13,000 per security violation.

The crew was allegedly part of production company Endemol Shine, which has previously produced shows like Big Brother, MasterChef, and Morgan Spurlock's documentary series 30 Days. In a statement to the Star-Ledger, Endemol Shine wrote that the company is currently "looking into the details of what happened," and it "sincerely apologize[s] for any disruption caused."

Let this be another lesson to everyone out there to leave the fake bombs and phony hand grenades at home before boarding a flight—though if you want to bring a massive lobster with you in your carry-on, that's still totally cool.