UPDATE – Newsday has updated information and has confirmed the device was a pipe bomb.
From Newsday –A Las Vegas man attempted to bring a pipe bomb on board a jet at Long Island MacArthur Airport yesterday morning, federal officials said in court documents.
The suspected pipe bomb that was found in Steven Nobles’ baggage “could have functioned. It could have detonated,” federal prosecutor John Durham said at Nobles’ arraignment in U.S. District Court in Central Islip late yesterday afternoon.
Federal magistrate Kathleen Tomlinson denied bail to Nobles, pending a hearing today, saying Nobles “certainly was old enough to take into the account the circumstances under which he was operating this morning.”
According to a complaint filed by FBI agent James McCarthy, Nobles was stopped at 7:28 a.m. by Transportation Security Administration officers during a routine search when they noticed a 7-inch-long knife in his carry-on bag. Nobles was preparing to board Southwest Flight 384 to Las Vegas.
After searching Nobles’ bag, the officers then noticed the bomb, McCarthy said.
Suffolk Police and the FBI were called and part of the airport was temporarily evacuated.
A search of Nobles’ luggage found “explosive fireworks, electrical circuit boards, a battery with electrical tape and 14 . . . .22-caliber rounds used in a nailgun to drive nails into concrete,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said in the complaint that Nobles told him that “the device in the carry-on bag was a pipe bomb.” Nobles also said he “built the pipe bomb using a metal pipe, fuses and gunpowder from M-80 fireworks, smoke bombs and other fireworks,” McCarthy said. In addition, the agent said Nobles told him he hoped that when the device went off it would “cause a giant smoke cloud, a flash of light and hopefully a loud noise,” McCarthy said.
However, Nobles “denied intending to detonate the pipe bomb on the airplane and claimed that he had inadvertently carried it to the airport,” McCarthy said.
A Southwest Airlines passenger was found carrying a possible explosive a small pipe bomb or firework in his carry-on luggage at MacArthur Airport, police said.
Investigators said the man was trying to board a flight to Las Vegas when they discovered the device.
Also found in the man’s checked luggage was ammunition for a starter gun, m-80’s and a knife, law enforcement sources said.
Part of the airport terminal was evacuated as a precaution.
The man is currently in custody and was questioned by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, a law enforcement official said.
Some investigators are describing the device as more like a large firework than an actual pipe bomb.
The Suffolk County Bomb Squad and the FBI were among the agencies that responded.
Investigators believe the man acted alone.
Spokesmen for the FBI and the US Attorney said it was too soon to detail what the criminal charges will be.
According to a criminal complaint filed this afternoon in federal court on Long Island, Steven Nobles was charged with attempting to board a plane with a 7inch folding knife, a pipe bomb and fireworks.
Nobles had a one-way ticket to Las Vegas on Southwest Airlines Flight 384, the FBI said.
The court papers say that during a routine security screening of Nobles’s carry-on items, security officers discovered a knife and what appeared to be a pipe bomb.
A search of Nobles’s checked luggage revealed fireworks, electrical circuit boards, a battery, and ammunition for a nailgun, the FBI said.