A 26-year-old man who was allegedly trying to get payback for an embarassing photo of his girlfriend posted on Facebook by her former lover has been charged in Thursday’s bomb hoax at Philadelphia International Airport.
Kenneth W. Smith Jr., of Philadelphia, was arrested Thursday after police picked him up at work. Smith allegedly called Philadelphia Airport police Thursday morning from a pay phone and told them a man aboard a flight to Dallas had liquid explosives.
US Airways Flight 1267 was turned around in mid-flight and returned to Philadelphia. The man, who has been identified in reports as Christopher Shell, and nearby passengers were taken off the plane, while bomb technicians from the police department and FBI searched the plane and luggage.
Once investigators realized Shell was clean of any explosives, he told them he suspected his ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend might have been responsible for the call. Investigators said text messages on Shell’s phone revealed recent hostile exchanges between Shell and his ex-girlfriend regarding Smith. Shell also said he and Smith had been in heated exchanges previously.
Shell directed investigators to Smith’s workplace where Smith’s boss pointed him out. Investigators questioned Smith, who allegedly admitted to the plot as a way to “avenge” his girlfriend for a compromising photo Shell posted of her.
Smith is charged with knowingly engaging in conduct with intent to convey false and misleading information, a federal offense. His initial court appearance is scheduled for Friday.
Additional charges could be filed as authorities said the investigating is ongoing.