Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners found a box cutter in a man’s carry-on bag, gave it back to him, and then he used it to threaten other passengers and later charge at a flight attendant on a Frontier Airlines flight. But that water bottle remains a lethal threat…
Genius: TSA Finds Box Cutter, Returns It To Man Who Uses It To Threaten Passengers, Charge At Flight Attendant on Frontier Airlines
The incident began to unfold on November 12, 2022 at a TSA checkpoint at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). William Allen Liebisch, 42, was traveling on Frontier Airlines to Tampa (TPA) on flight 1761. TSA screeners found a box cutter in his bag. The officer removed the blade and handed it back to Liebisch, missing the obvious: box cutters often have a backup blade built into the handle.
Oh, and the TSA missed a second box cutter in his bag…
Next, Liebisch boarded his flight to Tampa. A passenger saw Liebisch use the box cutter to clean his nails. Another passenger reported to flight attendants onboard that Liebisch said that he was going to stab someone. Flight attendants asked two male passengers to help, seating them next to Liebisch in an attempt to keep him calm.
Meanwhile, the captain made the decision to divert to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), which was the nearest major airport. Passengers were told to leave their carry-on items onboard and to immediately deplane. While Atlanta Police officers were waiting at the gate, they did not board the flight for fear of antagonizing Liebisch.
After the remaining passengers stepped off, leaving Liebisch sitting in the last row with his two assigned male seatmates, he attempted to rush off the plane while brandishing his box cutter toward a flight attendant. One of the passengers tackled him from behind. Police officers rushed onboard and subdued him.
Police warned him that he would be tasered if he did not stop resisting, which caused him to stop.
Liebisch faces prison time and a steep fine, but what about the TSA officer that handed him back the box cutter or the baggage screener that failed to miss the second box cutter? They should be held accountable too.
It amazes me that the TSA is ruthlessly efficient at finding water bottles and other liquid items, but misses guns and apparently box cutters too. Let me use this moment to advocate for an end to the scaremongering liquid ban but also applaud the passengers onboard Frontier who assisted flight attendants, especially the one who tackled Liebisch from behind. As for Liebisch, you have to wonder if drugs or alcohol were at play.