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Indianapolis TSA screeners find inert suicide vest in checked baggage

Inert suicide vest

A checked bag passing through the X-ray machine at Indianapolis International Airport the week of March 3 contained some “alarming” items, including a suicide vest, and what appeared to be packages of explosive powder, said TSA.

The vest and powder, however, were inert training devices being carried by an explosives trainer, said the TSA. The vest, which the agency noted on its Web blog on March 8, initially set off the checkpoint X-ray machine. As officers searched further they also discovered 30 electric matches, a bag of potassium chlorate in the original packaging, a bag of titanium powder in the original packaging, a bag of powder that appeared to be a mixture of potassium chlorate and titanium powder, and the vest, said TSA’s “Blogger Bob” Burns on the agency’s blog page on March 8.

“All of the items were inert and the passenger was an explosives instructor,” said Burns, adding that the agency is “all too familiar with instructors and other types of people in this type of business needing these sorts of items to do their jobs.

Burns said transportation security officers don’t know if the items are real until they’ve been examined. He said the items can force evacuation of baggage areas and checkpoints, leading to delays and missed flights. He didn’t say if that was the case at the Indianapolis airport, though. “People that need to travel with INERT items should plan ahead and contact their preferred shipper about mailing the training aids to their destination,” he advised.

The vest wasn’t the only fake explosive found by TSO’s the week of March 3. Screeners found a total of seven inert/replica grenades. Five WWII replica “potato masher” grenades were found in checked baggage at Louisville International Airport. Two more grenades were discovered at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. The grenade at Dallas/Fort Worth was in a carry-on bag, said TSA.