An arrest was made Tuesday in an investigation into a dry ice explosion that occurred in a restricted area of LAX on Monday night, the second such explosion in as many days, authorities said.
A 28-year-old airport employee was arrested late Tuesday, the Associated Press reported, attributing the information to a law enforcement official who was not allowed to speak publicly about the investigation.
Dicarlo Bennett, a Servisair employee, had taken dry ice from a plane to make the bombs, the AP reported.
Los Angeles police confirmed Bennett’s arrest, but they did not confirm his employment status.
Bennett was taken into custody in Paramount and booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center for felony possession of explosives near an aircraft, LAPD said in a news release. His bail was initially set at $1 million.
Earlier Tuesday, police planned to examine surveillance footage and talk to employees and supervisors in an attempt to identify the person who placed the explosive devices, Cmdr. Blake Chow of the Los Angeles Police Department’s counterterrorism bureau said.
A dry ice device exploded just before 8:30 p.m. Monday in the area of Gate 148 at the Tom Bradley International Terminal of Los Angeles International Airport. It was found in an area not accessible to the public, as was a 20 oz. bottle filled with dry ice that exploded Sunday night in an employee restroom at Terminal 2, police said.
Conflicting information about the total number of devices found was given by police Monday and Tuesday, but the Los Angeles Times reported that officials later clarified discrepancies and said three devices had been discovered.
A fizzing bottle was found on the tarmac outside the international terminal Monday night by an employee who told police he had cleaned up a similar device the previous day that had apparently exploded in the same area. Another suspected device was found on the tarmac Monday, but that turned out the be trash, the newspaper reported.
Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide that can be used to keep food cool, and authorities noted that many food vendors at the airport use dry ice. If handled with bare skin, it can burn. YouTube videos show how easy it is to make a “bomb” using pieces of dry ice and plastic bottles.
“Even though they’re soda bottles, the pressure that’s created inside of them is extreme,” Chow told news reporters.
“It actually can blow up with as much force as a pipe bomb, so that’s why we take these very seriously,” he said.
LAPD’s bomb squad, detectives from the department’s criminal conspiracy section and the city fire department had responded to Monday night’s explosion.
Authorities said the bombs did not appear to be linked to international terrorism and that no one had been injured.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck warned that the perpetrator would be punished.
“We will catch the people involved, whether they be internal or external to the airport, and we will prosecute them vigorously,” Beck said. “Somebody will go to prison over this.”
Anyone with information was urged to contact LAPD at 877-527-3247 (877-LAPD-2547).
KTLA’s Christina Pascucci and Kareen Wynter contributed to this report.