Suspect in dry ice explosions at LAX airport to be charged

No one was injured in the blasts that authorities say were done for amusement


Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — A suspect in dry ice bottle blasts at Los Angeles International Airport will be charged with two counts of possessing a destructive device in a public place, the district attorney's office said Thursday.

Dicarlo Bennett, 28, will be arraigned later in the day at the airport branch courthouse. He works as a baggage handler for an airport service company.

Bennett was being held on $1 million bail.

No one was injured in the blasts Sunday that authorities say were done for amusement in areas of the airport only accessible to employees.

The charges are punishable by up to six years in jail.

Airport officials changed their policy on how dry ice is discarded after an abandoned container of dry ice from a plane was used to fashion and explode the bombs.

The airport will now require employees to return dry ice — often used to keep food fresh — to a warehouse and not leave it out on the tarmac, said Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon.

Airport officials plan to meet with law enforcement authorities in the coming days to examine other potential security enhancements at one of the nation's busiest airports.

A 20-ounce plastic bottle packed with dry ice exploded in an employee bathroom and another blew up on the airport's tarmac Sunday. An employee found a third unexploded plastic bottle still expanding Monday on the tarmac.

Investigators believe the bombs were set "out of a desire to construct and experience a device exploding," said Los Angeles police Lt. John Karle. He called it foolish and negligent behavior.

Police primarily relied on interviews with witnesses and physical evidence but also reviewed surveillance video.

Cameras cover some of these restricted-access areas, but Downing said there isn't as much camera coverage as in public-access areas.

The union representing police at LAX said the incident highlights the need for the installation of more security cameras at the airport.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

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