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Luggage bomb hoax lands couple in jail

By Patty Davis

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Maine couple's attempt to make a political statement by rigging up a fake bomb in their checked luggage led to their arrest, officials said Thursday.

Paul Kenneth Donahue, 50, and Teresa Marie Wood, 46, had been scheduled to fly from San Jose, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, on Delta Flight 576 Tuesday. When their bags were put through a bomb detection machine, federal screeners found what turned out to be a snow boot with batteries, wires and an electrical power strip arranged in a suspicious way.

Screeners also found a note that read, "To the uniformed puppet opening this bag -- congratulations. You've just brought this once free nation one step closer to becoming a fascist police state," according to Transportation Security Administration spokesman Robert Johnson. The note was scribbled on one side of the cardboard torn from a box of Cracklin' Oat Bran.

San Jose police arrested the pair, who are from Machias, Maine, and booked them for "sending or placing a false or facsimile bomb," Johnson added.

An airline source told CNN that Donahue said he is the editor of his local newspaper.

Johnson said the federal screeners did what they were supposed to do, and he deplored the couple's actions. "This is like pulling a fire alarm in a theater and watching what happens," he said. "It's one thing to have an issue about protecting our flights from terrorism. It's another thing to play games with the system.

"Don't force our screeners to waste their time playing political games."

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