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Area man arrested at Philly airport

February 16. 2013 3:58AM

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DALLAS TWP. ‚?? Agents with the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched a house at 78 Harris St. on Thursday afternoon hours after Joseph Picklo was arrested before he boarded a plane at Philadelphia International Airport with suspected explosives in a carry-on bag.

Picklo, 29, had ‚??commercial-grade M-80s‚?Ě in a backpack when passing through security at the airport around 5:30 a.m. as he was about to board a plane to San Francisco, Calif., Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan said at a news conference. The bag also contained a water bottle filled with flash powder, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Sullivan said Picklo was stopped after screeners noticed an ‚??anomaly‚?Ě in the backpack. He noted Picklo never got through security and no one was ever in danger.

‚??He says that he has an interest in these items professionally,‚?Ě Sullivan said.

Township police Chief Robert Jolley said his department was called around 9 a.m. from federal authorities in Philadelphia with a request to keep the house on Harris Street under watch.

‚??Our only involvement was securing the house until federal authorities got here,‚?Ě Jolley said.

The 3-year-old, four-bedroom house with an enclosed garage sits high on a hill at the end of a steep driveway. It was built in 2008.

Jolley and several township police officers were stationed outside the house in the driveway for most of the day.

A federal agent who was at the house with township police asked that a photographer not take his picture or those of ATF agents who arrived Thursday afternoon.

It was not immediately known if any suspected explosive devices were found in the house.

Jolley said he did not know Picklo nor did he know how long he lived at the house located in the Maplewood Heights section of the township.

A neighbor across the street declined to comment.

Luzerne County property records list Daniel and Gayle Pieretti, of Larksville, as owners of the property. They could not be reached for comment.

Sullivan said Picklo is being charged with possession of a destructive device and additional counts are likely.

Picklo indicated he forgot that the items were in his bag, investigators said.

No flights were delayed, airport spokeswoman Victoria Lupica said. The checkpoint was reopened shortly before 6:30 a.m., according to the TSA.

A review of court records indicates Picklo has two traffic citations. No criminal offenses were found.

Kingston Township police cited Picklo with speeding in July 2009. He pleaded guilty and paid a $155 fine.

State police at Tunkhannock cited him with speeding in November. He was convicted after a summary trial in January and paid a $164 fine, according to court records.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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