A man who bolted today when selected for a pat-down at Los Angeles International Airport, sparking a manhunt, eventually returned to the airport and was not arrested, but could lose his job with Delta Airlines.
Authorities believe the man, whose identity was not released, was not a terrorist, but was trying to slip illegal drugs through security.
The man, who was wearing a Delta crew badge, tried to go through screening at Delta Airlines Terminal 5 around 2:20 p.m. and ran away halfway through the process, said Marshall McClain of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association.
"The subject apparently had been selected for a random upper-body pat- down and the subject immediately said he had to use the restroom and would not do the pat-down,'' McClain said. "The subject was told he had to complete the screening process before going forward to use the restroom.''
At that point the man ran out of the screening area, leaving his shoes, carry-on bag and other items behind, but he managed to grab a cylinder wrapped in a plastic bag waiting to be screened, McClain said.
A search began, and authorities determined the man took a cab to 13th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard, where he got into a vehicle containing other people and was driven away, McClain said. The man returned to the airport about an hour later.
"He was still shoeless, but no longer had the cylinder object, which (is) believed to be narcotics, in his possession,'' McClain said.
McClain said the man turned out to be a Delta employee not based in Los Angeles, and Delta Airlines "indicated that they would be following up on the status of his employment.''
The man was not arrested, but was not allowed to fly Delta today.
"In light of the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas in Detroit, the incident in San Diego and millennium bomber, today, we renew our call for increased security at our airports,'' McClain said.