He was mad about an airline’s baggage fee. So, he ditched the bag and said there was a bomb in it, police say.

Three terminals were evacuated and swept, roadways were closed, 8 flights were canceled and dozens were delayed.

"The employee advised Rosen that he needed to take his luggage with him, and he responded by telling the employee there was a bomb in the bag." AP Photo / Jenny Kane

Wegal Rosen simmered with rage as he stood before the Air Canada check-in counter Saturday morning. The agent at Florida’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport had just informed him that he’d have to pay to carry on one of his bags when boarding his flight to Toronto, police said.

Rosen, 74, then stormed off in a fit of protest, abandoning his luggage by the ticket counter, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. But when the airline employee instructed him to take his bag with him, Rosen allegedly shot back with a chilling threat.

There was a bomb in the bag, he said, according to police.


What followed was a frenzied response from airport officials and local law enforcement. Three terminals were evacuated and swept, police said, roadways were closed, eight flights were canceled and dozens were delayed.

Rosen was bluffing, the sheriff’s office soon learned. Investigators arrested him later that day and charged him with falsely reporting a bomb threat. He now faces up to 15 years in prison.

Rosen’s bond was set at $20,000 on Monday, according to arrest records. It is unclear if he has been released and who is representing him.

Fake bomb threats on airplanes and at airports happen frequently. In June, federal law enforcement arrested a Georgia man for allegedly claiming there was a bomb on an airplane at Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown, Pa. The case is ongoing. In March, Florida law enforcement evacuated Daytona Beach International Airport after receiving a bomb threat. It is unclear if police arrested the person responsible.


A resident of both Toronto and Deerfield Beach in south Florida, Rosen was previously arrested in Broward County, court records show. In 2019, he was charged with battery of a person over 65 years old. The district attorney’s office ultimately dropped the case.

Rosen approached the ticket counter in Terminal 2 at the Fort Lauderdale airport on Saturday at about 8:30 a.m., a news release from Broward County Sheriff’s Office states, where he soon entered into a heated argument with the Air Canada employee.

Air Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rosen then allegedly angrily walked away from the counter without his bag, police said.


“The employee advised Rosen that he needed to take his luggage with him, and he responded by telling the employee there was a bomb in the bag,” the news release said.

He then headed toward Terminal 3 as the airline employee called law enforcement. Broward County Sheriff’s deputies soon arrived at the scene, along with the bomb squad and threat-management unit.

Police evacuated Terminals 2, 3 and 4, according to the news release. For four hours, travelers remained stranded outside. Police closed nearby roads, causing traffic jams and several flights were canceled or delayed.

Law enforcement inspected Rosen’s bag and found no proof of a bomb, the news release said. Rather, they found a CPAP machine, which is used by people who have sleep apnea, according to a police report reviewed by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.


Rosen was arrested later that day and taken to county jail.

During a hearing on Monday, Broward County prosecutor Eric Linder condemned Rosen’s actions and pointed to the serious repercussions for making such a claim.

“Obviously it would be very concerning if he did have an explosive device, your honor, but anybody — anybody — in our society knows what the impact is of making statement about having a bomb in the airport,” he said, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Rosen’s attorney, whose name is not publicly available, told Judge Tabitha Blackmon that his client was traveling to Toronto for a cardiologist appointment. The judge said he could fly back to Canada when he makes his $20,000 bail. But Blackmon warned that Rosen would have to find an alternate route home.


“You cannot return to the Fort Lauderdale airport, Mr. Rosen, do you understand?” Blackmon said, according to the Sun Sentinel.

He understood, Rosen said.

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