Woman Arrested at Airport with Fake Bomb
Anyone know what's going on?
Star Simpson, 19, had a computer circuit board, wiring and a putty that later turned out to be Play-Doh in plain view over a black hooded sweat shirt she was wearing, said State Police Maj. Scott Pare, the commanding officer at the airport.
She was arrested about 8 a.m. outside Terminal C, home to United Airlines, Jet Blue and other carriers.
A Massachusetts Port Authority staffer manning an information booth in the terminal became suspicious when Simpson - wearing the device - approached to ask about an incoming flight, Pare said. Simpson then walked outside, and the information booth attendant notified a nearby trooper.
The trooper, joined by others with submachine guns, confronted her at a traffic island in front of the terminal.
Geez. She's lucky to be alive. What in the world was she thinking?
EDITED TO ADD (9/21): Okay, clearly we need a lot more information:
The woman later told police the circuit board with lights on it was a work of art.
"She claims that it was just art and she was proud of the art and wanted to display it. I am not sure why she had the Play-Doh in her hands. She could not explain that," Pare said.
I have to admit that I would trust the authorities more if it weren't Boston.
EDITED TO ADD (9/21): Here's a picture. I'm leaning towards stupid police overreaction right now.
EDITED TO ADD (9/21): Okay, she made it for MIT's career day:
"She said that it was a piece of art and she wanted to stand out on career day," Pare said at a news conference.
Definitely stupid police overreaction.
Refuse to be terrorized, people!
EDITED TO ADD (9/21): A better photo.
EDITED TO ADD (9/22): More news. I now have complete symathy for the student, and none for the police. I wonder if anyone wore their DefCon badge to the Las Vegas airport this year.
EDITED TO ADD (9/26): Really good information here:
Last week was Career Week at MIT. As usually happens during such events, the students turned out in high numbers to speak with company representatives and examine the "free" items that are handed out to students who visit certain booths. Star Simpson, an Electrical Engineering and Computer Science major who enjoys playing around with electronics, wore a bulky handmade nametag to the event. It consisted of a breadboard, LEDs in the shape of a star (for her name), some wires, and a nine-volt battery. She taped it to her sweatshirt to keep it in place, possibly hoping that the company representatives would better be able to remember a student with a flashing nametag.
She also, as is custom, acquired a number of neat little items from the vendors there. I've seen some of what was available - bleach pens for clothing, large foam 'pills' that you could squeeze as a method of stress relief, small containers of Play-Doh. She picked up a canister of Play-Doh and placed it in her pocket.
Some time after this - I don't know how long, sorry - she went to the Logan Airport to meet a friend of hers. I can easily see her losing track of time and being too rushed to put her sweatshirt away before leaving. Or perhaps she forgot the breadboard entirely - just as someone with a bandaged wrist will soon ignore its presence. Or perhaps she thought no one would care -- she is from MIT, after all, and the culture here does not regard breadboards as weapons of mass destruction. Or perhaps she thought that it wouldn't matter, since she knew that she would not be going through the security checkpoint.
And the authories are going to make her pay for their mistake.
Posted on September 21, 2007 at 12:20 PM • 223 Comments