BOSTON (AFP) — A 19-year-old female student was arrested at gunpoint at Boston airport Friday after walking into the terminal with what authorities believed to be a bomb strapped to her chest, police said.
The woman had a computer circuit board, a battery and exposed wires in plain view over a black hooded sweatshirt, state police major Scott Pare, the commanding officer at the airport, told reporters.
Pare said an airport worker spotted the bizarre contraption on the woman and called state police, who responded with a canine and bomb disposal team. The woman later told police the circuit board with lights on it was a work of art.
"She followed instructions as required by the state police," Pare told reporters. "Thankfully, because she followed instructions as required, she ended up in a cell as opposed to the morgue."
"Had she not followed the instructions, deadly force may have been used," he said.
Pare said that she would be charged with disorderly conduct and possessing a hoax device.
"This is a serious offence. We take it very seriously," he added.
The woman, identified as Star Simpson, was believed to be a student of the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he said.
In January an ill-judged marketing stunt to promote a late-night animated television show sparked a full-scale security scare in Boston after several flashing circuit boards were found around the city.
Police mistook the battery-powered circuit boards for explosive devices and shut down roads and bridges and suspended rail services, causing major disruption.
Security alerts have been a frequent occurrence in the United States ever since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the vast majority of which turn out to be either false alarms or hoaxes.
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