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Lawyer: Passenger 'Said the Magic Words You Do Not Say'

Wegal Rosen, 74, arrested after bomb scare at Fort Lauderdale airport
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2021 6:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Canadian who lives part time in Florida never completed his trip to Ontario over the weekend after an incident that caused chaos at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Per a police report and release cited by the Sun Sentinel, Wegal Rosen, 74, became miffed on Saturday when he was told he'd have to not only pay a fee for his carry-on, but also walk to a different terminal to buy a Visa card to pay for it. Per the documents, Rosen started walking away from the Air Canada ticket counter, leaving his bag behind, and a worker told him he'd need to take his bag with him—which is when he allegedly announced there was a bomb in it. Three terminals were evacuated, eight flights were canceled, dozens of flights were delayed, and travelers were stuck outside for four hours while deputies checked out the airport. What was actually in Rosen's bag, per police: his CPAP machine.

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On Monday, Rosen appeared in court, where his lawyer acknowledged: "He said the magic words you do not say." The Sentinel notes this isn't Rosen's first brush with the law: In 2019, he was arrested after he tussled with an elderly woman over a parking spot in the Deerfield Beach retirement community where he owns a condo. He was hit with a third-degree felony charge of battery on a person over 65, but that charge was eventually dropped. If convicted of falsely reporting a bomb threat, Rosen could see 15 years behind bars, plus a $10,000 fine. He may also have to pay restitution for damages. Rosen is allowed to return home while he waits for the next steps in his case—and if he's able to post his $20,000 bond, per the Washington Post—but on Monday, Judge Tabitha Blackmon told him he's persona non grata at the Fort Lauderdale airport. "To get back to Canada, he'll have to go through Miami, West Palm Beach, or any other county." (Read more bomb threat stories.)

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