Paperweight Sparks Scare, Evacuation at JFK

The suspicious package was a paperweight

By Pei-Sze Cheng
|  Wednesday, Nov 14, 2012  |  Updated 11:38 PM EDT
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An international passenger set off a security scare at Kennedy Airport Thursday afternoon when a customs agent discovered what appeared to be a grenade in his luggage. Pei-Sze Cheng has more.

NBC 4 New York

An international passenger set off a security scare at Kennedy Airport Thursday afternoon when a customs agent discovered what appeared to be a grenade in his luggage. Pei-Sze Cheng has more.

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An international passenger set off a security scare at Kennedy Airport Thursday afternoon when a customs agent discovered what appeared to be a grenade in his luggage. 

The item turned out to be a paperweight, officials said.

Terminal 4 was evacuated for an hour as police searched the package. The measure was taken out of an abundance of caution, officials said. 

The passenger from Moscow told police he'd received the item as a gift from a friend.

Passengers on a flight that arrived just after Terminal 4 was placed in lockdown were annoyed by the delay it caused.

"They told us, 'Due to security reasons, we are unable to open the doors,' and we ended up staying for one and a half hours [on the plane]," said Atef Glias.

Other fliers were concerned as to how the item, so closely resembling an explosive, made its way on to a plane.

"Literally, we are strip-searched before we get on the plane, and to see this, unbelievable," said one passenger waiting at the airport.

Pramov Nednoor added, "Especially after 9/11, nowadays they don't even allow toothpaste. How could they allow something like that?"

It's not clear how the paperweight owner was able to pass security in Moscow with the item. TSA agents at Kennedy Airport do not permit people to bring such realistic-looking ammunition aboard aircrafts.

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