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Man arrested after fake bomb threat at Florida airport was upset over bag fee, police say

Authorities said the Canadian man, Wegal Rosen, sparked an evacuation of three terminals and shut down the airport for hours.

Rather than paying a bag fee he adamantly disagreed with, a Canadian man told an airline employee at the Fort Lauderdale airport in Florida Saturday there was a bomb in his luggage, officials said.

Wegal Rosen’s comment Saturday morning prompted authorities to evacuate three terminals and halt all operations at the Fort-Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport for hours, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said in public records.

Rosen, 74, was arrested and charged with making a false report concerning planting a bomb, explosive or weapon of mass destruction, police said.

Rosen was at the Air Canada counter on his way to Toronto when he “engaged in a heated verbal argument” with an airline employee over “additional charges for baggage and the airline's no cash policy,” according to a complaint from the Broward Sheriff’s office.

The employee then told Rosen he needed to walk from terminal 2 to terminal 3 to purchase a Visa credit card for his carry-on fee, the complaint said. Rosen then walked away without his luggage, and when the employee told him he needed to take it, “Mr. Rosen responded by telling the employee there was a bomb in the bag,” according to the complaint.

Rosen’s comment caused the evacuations of terminals 2, 3 and 4, and a “complete shut down of airport operations for over 4 hours,” per the complaint.

The report from the sheriff’s office listed Rosen’s permanent residence as Toronto. The sheriff’s office also listed for Rosen a part-time residence in Deerfield Beach in South Florida.

Rosen could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. Records from the Broward Sheriff’s Office showed he remained in jail early Tuesday afternoon on $20,000 bond. Rosen’s attorney, Jason Weiss, could not be immediately reached for comment.

On Monday Rosen attended a magistrate hearing, according to the Broward Clerk of Courts. In addition to having a bond set, he was told he could not return to the Fort Lauderdale airport and he could not possess weapons or ammo, per the clerk’s office.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Rosen faces up to 15 years in prison. The newspaper also said that during the magistrate hearing, Rosen’s attorney, who the publication did not name, said his client said “the magic words you do not say.”

Rosen’s lawyer also said Rosen was headed home to Toronto to see a cardiologist. The judge in the hearing told Rosen he could fly to Canada, but said he’ll have to travel through other airports in Florida, according to the Sun Sentinel.