Police say an unattended bag that led security officials to temporarily close part of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport was just a guitar case left behind by a man who couldn’t afford the luggage fee for it.
A police spokeswoman tells Cleveland.com that prosecutors will decide whether to pursue any charges against the 45-year-old man from Taberg, N.Y., over the bag abandoned Tuesday in a check-in area.
Robert Kennedy, the director of the airport, tells WEWS-TV that the case was found at about 2 p.m. local time on the sidewalk outside the ticketing area. The TSA and Cleveland police were notified of the suspicious baggage, and a K9 unit was brought in to inspect the bag, reports the site.
Despite the dog smelling “something suspicious,” a subsequent x-ray and physical examination of the case determined that its contents posed no danger to travelers.
However, by this time — roughly 4 p.m. — the commotion caused by the guitar case had already grounded several passengers at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The Associated Press reported that other passengers were re-routed into safety zones, away from the area where the bag was found, while flights continued taking off and landing.
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Still, Kennedy insisted it was necessary to follow the correct safety protocols.
“Today’s demonstration of a bag handler notifying TSA, notifying Cleveland Police Department is evidence of how that works,” he told WEWS-TV.
As for the 45-year-old man who abandoned his guitar case, he was questioned and allowed to board his flight home after investigators determined there was no safety threat.
The man also told WEWS-TV that he was sorry, and that he didn’t realize his role in the incident until it was over and he was questioned.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.