NEWARK — The company blamed for trying to sneak a fake bomb through a Newark Liberty International Airport security checkpoint says it wasn't a fake bomb at all — but a new gizmo meant to make packing easier.

The incident happened last Thursday, when TSA agents at the airport detected a device in a carry-on bag belonging to one member of Endemol Shine North America's nine-person crew. TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said device included a motor, wires, and PVC pipes, which agents thought could be used to make a pipe bomb.

But the device was actually vacuum compression luggage, meant to make more room in suitcases for clothes, Endemol said. According to a statement from the company apologizing for the incident, the device was to be featured on television show "Staten Island Hustle"

"Unfortunately, there appears to have been a misunderstanding, and we regret any inconvenience to TSA and other authorities on the ground for complications that may have been caused," the company statement said.

The show, scheduled to debut in the spring, centers on “a group of animated, life-long friends and businessmen from Staten Island who’ve yet to come up with an idea or product too far-fetched for them to invest in,” according to a release from CNBC.

The nine people were charged with creating a false public alarm, interference with transportation, and conspiracy. They were released pending a future court date. The charges carry fines of more than $13,000, according to the TSA.

Last week, when authorities said the crew appeared to be trying to film its members getting a fake explosive through security, a TSA official compared the stunt to yelling fire in a theater.

“There is simply no excuse for trying to do something like this knowing it had the great potential to cause panic with the intention of turning that panic into a reality show. The reality is that all of these individuals were arrested and face heavy civil penalties as well,” Tom Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey, said.

New Jersey 101.5 has not yet reached the TSA for comment on the company's explanation.

 

Previous reporting from Dan Alexander was included in this report.

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Contact reporter Adam Hochron at 609-359-5326 or Adam.Hochron@townsquaremedia.com

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