JFK security breach a mistake, suspect reportedly says
NEW YORK - The man returning from Haiti who set off an alarm that led to the evacuation of a busy terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport told police he went through a restricted door by mistake, an official familiar with the investigation said yesterday.
The official was not authorized to comment publicly on the case against the Brooklyn man and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The security breach on Saturday afternoon delayed dozens of flights and caused headaches for hundreds of travelers who had to exit the terminal and wait for hours while police swept through the building.
Passengers were then rescreened by Transportation Security Administration officers. The incident occurred less than two weeks after another security breach at nearby Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.
Jules Paul Bouloute, 57, was charged with first-degree criminal tampering and third-degree criminal trespass, said Helen Peterson, a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney. Bouloute faces up to seven years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge.
Prosecutors said he went through a door that was clearly marked as restricted.
“As a result of the defendant’s actions, thousands of people were required to evacuate and to be rescreened by TSA, causing substantial delays in the airlines’ schedules,’’ said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Browne in a statement.
Stephen Sigmund, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which oversees the airport, said the agency was reviewing security procedures and reaching out to airlines to make sure security protocols were being followed. He said the terminal where the incident took place was used by American Airlines.