JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A judge set bail at $1 million Wednesday for a man accused of telling security screeners at the Jacksonville International Airport he had a bomb in his backpack, prompting the evacuation of the airport. Authorities did not find any explosives.
Zeljko Causevic, 39, remained silent during his brief hearing before Duval County Court Judge Russell Healey on charges of making a false report about planting a bomb and possessing a hoax bomb.
According to a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrest report, Causevic, a U.S. citizen who is originally from Bosnia, approached a Transportation Security Administration agent Tuesday, saying he had a device in his camouflage backpack that was “supposed to be a bomb, but it’s not.” Inside the backpack, officials found a small luggage scale with two batteries and a microchip. He told authorities he had a “detonator,” which was a remote control device, and his bag also contained a cellphone.
The Joint Terrorism Task Force interviewed Causevic and he was arrested.
The threat shut down the airport for about five hours Tuesday night, delaying outbound flights and stranding passengers on planes on the tarmac.
Arlie Gentry was on a Southwest flight arriving from New York via Baltimore just before 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“We moved from one spot on the runway to another spot,” said Gentry, who was reached on his cellphone while still on the plane. “They told us we couldn’t get off the plane.”
Gentry said the pilots initially told passengers they didn’t know what was going on.
While the delay was bothersome, Gentry said everyone on his plane remained calm. He said he was never really worried for his safety because the plane remained so far from the terminal.
Around 9:30 p.m., a bus arrived to take the passengers on Gentry’s flight to a nearby hotel. Other travelers on planes were also bused to hotels.
The airport, which had been evacuated, reopened around 11 p.m.
Another man who was acting suspiciously was arrested at the airport about the same time Causevic was taken into custody, but authorities said the arrests were not related.
Officers approached Manuel Rivera, 35, because he was “displaying suspicious behavior” and trying to “blend in with other passengers,” according to an arrest report.
Officers said he refused to comply with orders to stop and became defensive and pulled away. An officer had to physically restrain him and he was taken into custody after he couldn’t explain his actions, the arrest report said.
Rivera is charged with resisting an officer without violence.
Associated Press writer Freida Frisaro in Miami contributed to this report.