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Airport bomb threat a hoax

Ben Godar

Police acting on an anony- mous tip Monday closed a runway at

Burbank-Glendale- Pasadena Airport, along with a nearby street and a

section of railroad track while they searched a truck for explosives.

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The threat turned out to be a hoax related to a labor dispute.

CHP officials received word Saturday from an anonymous caller that

a truck carrying explosives from Texas would arrive at the airport

sometime Monday morning, police said.

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About 3 a.m. Monday, a security guard for a movie equipment

storage lot near the airport noticed the truck parked near the corner

of San Fernando Boulevard and Clybourn Avenue and called Airport

Police.

The LAPD bomb unit searched the truck and found it loaded with

pyrotechnic movie props that police said the driver was waiting to

drop off at the same storage lot. The truck was parked near an

airport fueling station at the end of the runway that was closed.

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“The only thing that was dangerous was that someone made this call

and the truck ended up parked near the airport, train tracks and

290,000 gallons of jet fuel,” LAPD Lt. Art Miller said.

The threat appears to be motivated by a union trucking dispute,

Miller said. The driver of the truck was not a union member, but

Miller said a union driver left at same time and with the same cargo.

LAPD is investigating the hoax, which Miller said was called in from

a pay phone in Texas, but as of late Monday, no arrests had been

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made.

Airport Police assigned additional officers to specialized patrols

Monday in anticipation of the incident, but Airport Security Chief

Mike Post said those were canceled after it was determined to be a

hoax.

While police were prepared for the possibility of a bomb, Post

said questions about the validity of the tip arose.

“In this environment, we have a limited ability to take a risk in

making a judgment like this,” he said. “It ended up being what it was

suspected as being, and that was a hoax.”

One of the airport’s two runways was closed until about 7 a.m.,

but airport spokesman Victor Gill said no flights were rerouted and

those affected were delayed about 30 minutes.

“Operationally, the impact was pretty minimal,” Gill said. "[The

threat] held up the first five or six flights to take off, but I’m

not aware of it affecting any arrivals.”

Police also closed nearby train tracks for about two hours while

investigating the truck, resulting in five Metrolink trains being

canceled, delayed or in some way re-routed, spokesman Sharon Gavin

said. Beginning at about 5 a.m., southbound trains were stopped

before reaching the airport and passengers were transferred to MTA

buses. Northbound travelers rode on alternate routes or in some

cases, were put into taxis or buses, she said.

Based on the average passenger loads on those trains, Gavin

estimated that more than 1,700 passengers were delayed or re-routed

as a result of the incident.


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