A man trying to board a flight was arrested Thursday after a pipe bomb, knife, fireworks and suspicious electronics were found in his luggage at a Long Island airport, authorities said.
Authorities said Steven Nobles told investigators he inadvertently carried the items to the airport and had not intended to use them on the Southwest Airlines flight to Las Vegas. About 500 passengers were evacuated from the MacArthur Airport terminal for about two hours Thursday morning.
Nobles, 20, of Las Vegas, was denied bail in U.S. District Court in Central Islip after his arrest at the airport in Ronkonkoma. He appeared in court wearing a black T-shirt depicting a machine gun and green glow-in-the-dark skulls.
"His actions are bizarre. I don't feel comfortable giving him bail at this time," U.S. Magistrate Judge A. Kathleen Tomlinson said.
Stopped during routine screening
Nobles faces charges including carrying a weapon or explosive on an aircraft and up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The FBI did not return a call seeking comment, and Nobles' attorney declined to comment.
Authorities said in a federal complaint that Nobles was stopped during routine screening inside the airport terminal. Authorities evacuated the airport after Transportation Security Administration security officers noticed a 7-inch folding knife in Nobles' carry-on bag, followed by what appeared to be a pipe bomb.
A subsequent inspection of the man's checked luggage revealed fireworks, electrical circuit boards, a battery with electrical tape and .22-caliber rounds that are used in a nail gun to drive nails into concrete, the complaint said.
"Even though it was a bit chaotic, everyone listened and the police did the right thing," Karen Semigran of Holbrook, who was seeing family off to Mexico, told Newsday.
Nobles allegedly told authorities he built the pipe bomb using a metal pipe, fuses and gunpowder from M-80 explosives, smokebombs and other fireworks. His intent, according to the complaint, was for the device to "cause a giant smoke cloud, a flash of light and hopefully a loud noise."