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LaGuardia Airport bomb threat suspect arrested and charged, officials say

After getting into an argument with an Spirit Airlines employee, a 70-year-old passenger threatened to return with a bomb, the NYPD said.

The NYPD bomb squad and Port Authority police

The NYPD bomb squad and Port Authority police investigated a "suspicious bag" left at LaGuardia Airport on Saturday morning, Oct. 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Steven Sunshine

A Michigan man who left a "suspicious" but ultimately harmless bag behind in LaGuardia Airport Saturday morning has been charged with making terroristic threats, the Port Authority said Sunday.

The man — whom the Port Authority identified as John Park, 70, of Farmington, Michigan — threatened to return with a bomb after arguing with a Spirit employee at a Terminal B ticket counter around 7:15 a.m., the NYPD said.

Park walked away, then returned and placed a bag on the countertop, police said.

In a brief interview with NBC New York on Saturday night, he indicated that the incident was really just a misunderstanding, that he was just kidding about the bomb.

"I'm an Asian, [we] have different culture, making jokes here and there," Park said. "They just overreacted." 

An NYPD spokesman said its bomb squad was called to the scene at about 7:30 a.m. “to investigate a suspicious bag left behind by a male in custody with PAPD [Port Authority Police Department].”

Port Authority spokesman Joseph Pentangelo said the ticketing area of Terminal B was secured, and the terminal was partially evacuated while the bomb squad swept the area and the bag, which was determined not to be a threat.

There were no reported injuries, officials added.

Concourses C and D continued to operate normally during the investigation, Pentangelo said, but passengers were advised that they should expect delays during the probe. All terminals were operating normally by 9:25 a.m., he said. 

With Polly Higgins, Alison Fox & Nicole Levy

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