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The case of the suspicious sticker, solved

Image by artist Rene Gagnon

GSN: Government Security News has solved the case of the suspicious sticker found at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, VA.

On June 1, GSN published a story on our Website and in our daily newsletter, the Homeland Security Insider, about a “sticker, which was discovered on a trash can in the airport, [that] displays a man clad in a long black jacket, all black pants, shirt, boots and baseball cap with his arms outstretched, his gaze pointed upwards and a bomb prominently attached to his chest.”

The image of the sticker was being circulated to law enforcement and corporate security firms via e-email by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, which was soliciting help discovering what the sticker means and who might have placed it in the airport.

A representative from the Washington, DC Airport Authority, who spoke to GSN about the image, stated that there was no evidence of a crime having been committed – though legal experts we spoke with said the offender could be charged with defacing property if they were apprehended – but the airport authority did call the incident highly “unusual.”

Now, the sticker is no longer a mystery. In an e-mail sent to GSN by a member of the U.S. armed forces stationed overseas, the picture was revealed to be a “stenciled art work by artist Rene Gagnon.” The officer, who immediately recognized the work of art and contacted GSN, told us that “in a color and larger version of that image… [the bomb strapped to his chest] are actually cans of spray paint.” And he was right.

The sticker, which had set off alarm bells at the Department of Homeland Security the week before Memorial Day weekend, has since been removed.


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