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9 arrested at Newark airport after ‘reckless’ reality TV stunt involving fake bomb

File photo of airline passengers lining up at a TSA security check point at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J.
File photo of airline passengers lining up at a TSA security check point at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J. AP Photo/Mike Derer

Nine people have been arrested after attempting to smuggle a fake bomb through security at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J. on Thursday.

The group reportedly wanted to see if they could successfully move some typical improvised explosive device (IED) components — concealed in a carry-on bag — through security while filming the stunt, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said in a release.

READ MORE: U.S. customs officials release photo of ‘mock IED’ confiscated at Toronto Pearson Airport

While some members of the group tried to move the bag through security, the others covertly filmed the scene. However, the group never made it past the checkpoint, and now face criminal charges as well as hefty fines for violating TSA security regulations.

The crew members told police they were working on the CNBC show “Staten Island Hustle,” CNN reported, although they weren’t carrying media credentials. According to Variety, the show focuses on “a group of life-long friends and investors from Staten Island.”

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A photo of the suspicious item seized at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J., Jan. 20, 2018.
A photo of the suspicious item seized at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, N.J., Jan. 20, 2018. Transportation Security Authority

The stunt was slammed as “reckless, dangerous, uninformed and totally insensitive” by the TSA’s federal security director for New Jersey, Tom Carter.

“It is the equivalent to yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater or using a toy gun to rob a bank and then claiming that it was just a toy, just to see what happens,” Carter said. “There is simply no excuse for trying to do something like this knowing it had the great potential to cause panic with the intention of turning that panic into a reality show. The reality is that all of these individuals were arrested and face heavy civil penalties as well.”

READ MORE: 130 fake bomb threats prompted Moscow to evacuate 100,000 people

Carter added that “transportation is serious business,” and commended TSA officers for detecting the object.

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The group face charges of false public alarm, conspiracy and interference with transportation, in addition to fines of over $13,000 for each violation of TSA security regulations, NJ.com reported.

The production company employing the crew said the device was a “specially designed suitcase,” and apologized for the disruption caused, CBS News reported.

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