Crime History: TV journalists try to plant fake bombs on plane

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe,Crime History

On this day, Jan. 4, in 1989, two French television journalists, Bruce Frankel and Alain Chaillou, were arrested for trying to plant fake bombs on three airlines at New York's JFK airport in what they said was a security test.

The incident came about two weeks after Pan Am Flight 103 was headed to JFK but blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people aboard and 11 on the ground.

The journalists attempted to ship three packages to Paris, where colleagues would be waiting with cameras.

Each package contained an alarm clock, molding clay and wires, and a message: "Congratulations! You have found our phony bomb!"

The message was written on the letterhead of the French television station.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Maloney said he was pressing charges because "this type of irresponsible behavior can invite a lot of crackpots to do the same thing."

The case ultimately was dismissed in 1994, according to electronic court records.

-Scott McCabe

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Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner