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‘Realistic’ suicide vest, guns found in bag at Virginia airport

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RICHMOND, Va. -- A Henrico man caused a scare at Richmond International Airport when items in his bags triggered an alarm Saturday.

"When the bag was opened, the TSA officer was shocked to see what appeared to be a suicide vest, two guns and an old military manual on incendiary devices," TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. "TSA explosives experts raced to the checked baggage room and Richmond International Airport Police were called immediately."

Investigators soon determined "suicide vest" was a prop and the guns were plastic replicas.

"Police tracked down the traveler at the gate and detained him for questioning by local law enforcement and the FBI," Farbstein said. "The man, a resident of Henrico County, Virginia, told officials that the items were all props intended for use in a live-action role-playing game. Very realistic props."

The TSA used this incident to remind travelers they are responsible for what is in their bags and the agency can cite passengers who show up at airports with illegal weapons or disrupt the security screening process.

"The good news is that there was nothing harmful in the bag," TSA’s Richmond Federal Security Director Chuck Burke said. "The items looked realistic by design. Bringing items to an airport that are meant to resemble items known to be used by terrorists . . . well I don’t know what the man could have been thinking would come of it."