Pennsylvania flight ‘bomber’ held without bail after ADMITTING he packed explosives in lining of his luggage – but claims he ‘wanted to set off fireworks on a Florida beach’ where he goes to care for his grandfather
- Marc Muffley, 40, has admitted packing explosive materials, fuses and a lighter in a suitcase he checked for an Allegiant flight to Florida
- Arrested on Monday – Muffley faces charges of possession of an explosive at an airport and possessing and/or attempting to place an explosive on an aircraft
- The 40-year-old’d girlfriend told authorities ‘he feared being arrested at the airport on an outstanding child support warrant’
A Pennsylvania man who admitted to packing explosive materials into the lining of his suitcase ‘only wanted to set off fireworks on a Florida beach’ where he goes to care for his grandfather.
Marc Muffley, 40, fled Lehigh Valley International Airport, after he was paged over the intercom when officials found ‘commercial grade fireworks’ hidden in his checked luggage.
Muffley was denied bail after appearing via videoconference at the court hearing U.S. Magistrate Pamela A. Carlos deeming him a ‘flight risk’ and ‘danger to the community.’
The 40-year-old is claimed to have fled the scene of the potentially catastrophic incident because he ‘feared being arrested at the airport on an outstanding child support warrant.’
Pennsylvania man, Marc Muffley, who admitted to packing explosive materials into the lining of his suitcase ‘only wanted to set off fireworks on a Florida beach’ where he goes to care for his grandfather. He’s been denied bail – deemed a ‘flight risk’ and ‘danger to the community’
Muffley was about to take an Allegiant flight from eastern Pennsylvania to Sanford, Florida. He’s been charged with with possession of an explosive in an airport and possessing, attempting to place, or to have placed an explosive on an aircraft
Court documents revealed that the would-be passenger plane ‘bomber,’ called his girlfriend for a ride from the airport and soon switched his phone number.
‘The danger he created … is simply astonishing,’ Assistant United States Attorney Sherri A. Stephan said at a Thursday court hearing, when she asked a judge to deny bail.
‘The fact TSA (the Transportation Security Administration) was able to immediately locate this device and prevent it from being placed on an airplane is to their credit.’
A defense lawyer suggested that Muffley only wanted to set off fireworks on a Florida beach, where he said the one-time construction worker sometimes cares for an ailing grandfather.
However, U.S. Magistrate Pamela A. Carlos agreed to detain him without bail, finding that Muffley was both a flight risk and a danger to the community.
Authorities said the fact the explosive powder was packed in the same checked bag with the other items increased the risk of an explosion.
‘The baggage also contained a can of butane, a lighter, a pipe with white powder residue suspected to be methamphetamine, a wireless drill with cordless batteries, and two GFCI outlets taped together with black tape,’ prosecutors wrote in a detention memorandum filed Thursday.
‘His actions seriously jeopardized the lives of airport workers and patrons, and if the explosive had not been intercepted, the flight’s passengers and the aircraft,’ the memo said.
Muffley is charged with possessing an explosive in an airport and possessing or attempting to place an explosive or incendiary device on an aircraft, according to a criminal complaint.
The defense lawyer, Jonathan McDonald, argued that the items were not ‘incendiary’ and therefore did not meet the requirements of the second charge. Muffley attended the hearing, which was held via videoconference from jail, but did not speak.
‘No one has posited one conceivable theory on how this thing could have gone off. That was not going to happen inside of a bag,’ McDonald said.
However, Carlos found probable cause to uphold both charges.
Muffley was arrested at his home Monday night, hours after he had checked in for the Allegiant Air flight at the Lehigh Valley International Airport. The flight was bound for Orlando.
Surveillance footage revealed the tense sting operation to arrest Muffley who fled to his home in Lansford after the ‘explosive device’ was found stitched into the lining of his suitcase.
Surveillance footage revealed the tense moment a would-be passenger plane ‘bomber’ was arrested after smuggling an explosive device into checked luggage
A heavily armed SWAT team can be seen storming down Muffley’s street in Lansford in video footage from neighbor Megan Rims doorbell
Muffley was arrested at his home on Abbott Street (pictured) on Monday just a few doors down from Rim
‘The baggage also contained a can of butane, a lighter, a pipe with white powder residue suspected to be methamphetamine, a wireless drill with cordless batteries, and two GFCI outlets taped together with black tape,’ the detention memorandum said.
The 40-year-old was arrested at his Lansford, Pennsylvania, home after he made a swift exit from Lehigh Valley International Airport after the device was found.
A heavily armed SWAT team can be seen storming down Muffley’s street in Lansford in video footage provided to WFMZ by neighbor Megan Rims.
Rims said that she lives just a couple doors down from Muffley and said the ordeal sounds ‘terrifying.’
‘I was at work and heard on the news ‘man from Carbon County,’ and I look up and I’m like, ‘that’s my neighbor,” she said.
‘That’s why they were there. Oh, my God,’ she added in reference to the officers.
A relative, who remained anonymous, told the outlet that she doesn’t think her cousin is capable of pulling off such a plot.
‘It’s nice the whole country thinks he’s smart enough to build a bomb. He’s just not that smart,’ they said.
Muffley was taken into FBI custody after an explosive device was found stitched into the lining of his checked luggage.
The ‘bomb’ that was nearly smuggled onto an Allegiant flight and was made from commercial grade fireworks, circular in shape and about three inches in diameter.
Muffley faces charges of possession of an explosive at an airport and possessing and/or attempting to place an explosive on an aircraft.
He was caught after his bag triggered an alarm before being loaded onto the plane, and the TSA found a ‘circular compound’ hidden in the lining of the baggage, the FBI said.
The ‘powder is suspected to be a mixture of flash powder and the dark granular that are used in commercial grade fireworks’ that was wrapped in wax paper and plastic, a criminal complaint states.
There were also two fuses attached, one of which appeared to be part of the original manufacturing and is used to ignite explosives quickly.
‘Attached to the circular compound was a ‘quick fuse’ and a ‘hobby fuse,” the complaint read.
‘A quick fuse is designed to ignite explosives quickly. It appeared to be a part of the original manufacture of the compound.
‘A ‘hobby fuse’ is a known to be regular fuse that burns slower than a quick fuse. The ‘hobby fuse’ appeared to be added post manufacture.’
The other fuse was added later, and burns slower than a quick fuse, officials said adding that the powders could ignite from heat and friction posing a ‘significant risk’ to the plane and passengers.
Investigators also found in the suitcase a can of butane, a lighter, a pipe with white powder residue, a wireless drill and two GFCI outlets taped together, the complaint said.
Muffley’s bag triggered an alarm before being loaded onto the plane, and the TSA found a ‘circular compound’ hidden in the lining of the baggage, the FBI said
Officials say that the device was concealed inside of a checked piece of luggage and contained multiple fuses
The suspicious package was discovered shortly after 11am on Monday and the west side of the airport’s main terminal was shut down ‘for precautionary measures’ around 11.15am, according to WFMZ.
The ‘bomb’ was removed from the airport. After it’s removal, the main terminal was reopened around 2pm.
Once found, Muffley was called to come to the security desk around 11.40am, but was later seen leaving the airport on security footage at 11.45am.
The 40-year-old has a long rap sheet dating back to 2017, which includes harassment, disorderly conduct, and fighting, according to the Pennsylvania Magisterial District Court.
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