LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles airport officials have changed their policy on how dry ice is discarded after a baggage handler used an abandoned container of dry ice from a plane to fashion and explode multiple bombs for his personal amusement.
The airport will now require employees to return dry ice — often used to keep food fresh — to the warehouse and not leave it out on the tarmac, said Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon. Airport officials plan to meet with law enforcement authorities in the coming days to examine other potential security enhancements at one of the nation's busiest airports.
Authorities arrested Dicarlo Bennett, 28, an employee for the aviation ground services company Servisair, for allegedly setting off three dry ice bombs Sunday night. Bennett was booked on suspicion of possession of a destructive device near an aircraft. He is being held on $1 million bail and prosecutors will likely charge him Thursday, officials said.
No one was hurt when a 20-ounce plastic bottle packed with dry ice exploded in an employee bathroom and another blew up on the airport's tarmac Sunday. An employee found a third unexploded plastic bottle still expanding Monday on the tarmac near where the other was.
Investigators believe the bombs were set "out of a desire to construct and experience a device exploding," said Los Angeles police Lt. John Karle. He called it foolish and negligent behavior.
Bennett was riding in a van with several people, including a supervisor, when he decided to make the dry ice bombs Sunday night, a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation told The Associated Press. Those in the van were aware of the dry ice but no other arrests have been made, according to the official, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Police primarily relied on interviews with witnesses and physical evidence but also reviewed surveillance video. Cameras cover some of these restricted-access areas, but Downing said there isn't as much camera coverage as in the public-access areas.
The union representing police at LAX said the incident highlights the need for the installation of more security cameras at the airport.
Tami Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/latams