LAX Dry Ice Bombs Were Joke to Suspect, Police Say

LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

The ground service employee arrested in connection with a string of dry ice bombs found at Los Angeles International Airport was a prankster who had no deep motive for his alleged acts, an LAPD official said.

But Dicarlo Bennett, 28, is still expected to face serious charges because the devices were found in close proximity to an aircraft, said Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Michael Downing, who oversees the department’s counterterrorism and special operations bureau.

“He was a prankster,” Downing said. “He thought it was funny. There is no terrorism here. This is one man involved who made very poor choices. There is nothing funny about what he did.”

Bennett, a 28-year-old man who worked for LAX ground-service provider Servisair, was arrested in Paramount, Calif., on Tuesday on suspicion of possessing and exploding a “destructive device near an aircraft,” the LAPD said. He was held on $1-million bail.

The proximity of the dry ice bombs to the aircraft will likely ratchet up the charges Bennett could face, Downing said.

Downing said there was no video footage of Bennett, but said there was “plenty” of evidence linking Bennett to the dry ice bombs. Sources said information from other airport workers was among the evidence that led investigators to Bennett, who was thought to have obtained the dry ice from an aircraft.

Bennett “was an employee of Servisair at the time of the incident,” the company confirmed Wednesday.

Authorities said three dry ice bombs were found Sunday and Monday in areas off-limits to the public, leading LAPD investigators and other officials to concentrate on airport workers — particularly those with access to the tarmac.