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LAX dry ice bomb suspect expected to be charged Thursday

Law EnforcementCrime, Law and JusticeLos Angeles Police DepartmentLos Angeles International Airport

A Los Angeles International Airport ground service worker is expected to be charged Thursday in connection with a rash of dry ice bombs found at the airport.

Dicarlo Bennett, 28, who worked for LAX ground service provider Servisair, was arrested Tuesday in Paramount on suspicion of possessing and exploding a “destructive device near an aircraft,” Los Angeles police said.

Bennett is being held in lieu of $1-million bail.

Bennett's intentions in the incidents, police said Wednesday, were his own amusement.

“He was a prankster,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing. “He thought it was funny.”

However, Downing said, “there is nothing funny about what he did. This is a serious pipe bomb filled with shrapnel; it is a destructive device.”

Police said no one saw Bennett with the bombs on surveillance cameras, but that there was “plenty” of evidence linking him to the explosions. Bennett was identified after LAPD criminal-conspiracy detectives interviewed several airport workers, sources said.

Authorities said three dry ice bombs were found Sunday and Monday in areas that are off-limits to the public, leading LAPD investigators and other officials to concentrate on airport workers -- particularly those with access to the tarmac.

The first device -- a 20-ounce plastic bottle filled with dry ice — was discovered about 6:40 p.m. Sunday after it exploded in an employee-only restroom at Terminal 2, authorities said.

No injuries were reported, but operations in the terminal were suspended and some flights delayed as the LAPD bomb squad cleared the scene.

The other devices were reported Monday night, but investigators said they believe that Bennett placed them there Sunday.

Investigators said they believe that Bennett obtained the dry ice from an airliner. The substance is frequently used by catering services.

Although the dry ice bombs found earlier this week did not injure anyone, a similar device that exploded at a Los Angeles liquor store in 1992 was deadly.

LAPD bomb squad Det. Paul Robi said the liquor store operator was cleaning inside the store when he picked up a glass bottle filled with dry ice and it exploded, the fragments “slitting his throat.”

“He bled to death,” Robi said Wednesday.

The bottle had been placed in the store by a juvenile who was later convicted and sentenced to four years in California Youth Authority.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

Twitter: @LACrimes

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