Newark International Airport was the site of a fake bomb scare on Thursday. In their efforts to film an episode of a reality TV show on CNBC called “Staten Island Hustle,” a film crew tried to smuggle a fake bomb through a security checkpoint, authorities said. It turned out to be a horrible idea.
The seven-member team were apprehended by Port Authority police at the New Jersey airport’s Terminal C at around 3 p.m. after the realistic-looking bomb was detected in an item of carry-on luggage. The suspects admitted that they wanted to covertly record the Transportation Security Administration’s reactions when they found the “bomb,” according to a report in the New York Daily News.
They also reportedly hoped that there would be a mass panic, and they wanted to get that on film as well.
“The TSA bomb tech just happened to be (at the checkpoint),” one source said. “He quickly looked it over, said it was nothing and they were taken in.”
The group was quickly and quietly arrested, and their van was impounded and searched. The prank wasted everyone’s time and will cost the crew up to $13,000 in fines. Port Authority police charged the seven crew members with conspiracy to create a public alarm and other charges, authorities said.
The filmmakers said they hired an engineer to craft the bogus bomb, which was made out of vacuum cleaner parts, PVC pipe and a flexible hose, according to the Daily News.
The prop “had all the markings of an improvised explosive device,” a TSA spokeswoman said, noting that “at the same time, others in the group covertly filmed the encounter.”
Because the bomb appeared to be a homemade explosive, the FBI was called in to consult on the arrest.
According to Variety, “Staten Island Hustle” was recently picked up by CNBC in the network’s efforts to expand its prime-time content.
“We are looking into the details of what happened as a matter of priority and are in contact with relevant authorities on the ground,” said a spokeswoman for the show’s production company, Endemol Shine North America. “While this process is ongoing we are unable to comment further but in the meantime, we sincerely apologize for any disruption caused.”
Endemol Shine also produces Big Brother, MasterChef and Fear Factor.