(NEXSTAR) – An airline passenger angry over a carry-on fee was responsible for Saturday’s evacuation of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, police have confirmed.
Wegel Rosen, 74, was arrested by detectives with the Broward Sheriff’s Office after allegedly becoming agitated over the fee and telling a check-in agent that he had a bomb in his bag, according to a police report. He has been charged with one count of false reporting concerning planting a bomb, explosive or weapon of mass destruction.
Police say Rosen approached an Air Canada ticket counter at approximately 8:30 a.m. on Saturday to check in for his Air Canada flight to Toronto. He then engaged in a “heated verbal argument” with the check-in agent when informed of a cash-only fee for carry-on baggage, according to the report.
When told he would need a VISA credit card to pay the fee, Rosen allegedly left his bag behind at the check-in counter.
“Mr. Rosen knowingly placed his bag in front of the ticket counter and walked away,” according to a police report. “While walking away he stated that there was a bomb in his luggage, which caused Terminals 2, 3 and 4 to be fully evacuated and a complete shutdown of airport operations for over 4 hours.”
Deputies and bomb squad agents with the Broward County Sheriff conducted an investigation. Rosen’s allegations of having an explosive device in the bag were ultimately determined to be unfounded, police said in a news release.
Rosen, a Canadian who resides in Florida for part of the year, was taken into custody and booked at the Broward County Sheriff’s main jail, at the North Broward Bureau.
In court on Monday, a judge set Rosen’s bail at $20,000, and said he would be allowed to return to Canada ahead of further legal proceedings, the Sun-Sentinel reported. A representative for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office has since confirmed he not currently in custody.
If convicted, Rosen faces a possible 15 years in prison, according to the Sun-Sentinel.