Plane bomb hoax was revenge for “compromising” Facebook photo

A 26-year-old man was so incensed about Facebook photos of his girlfriend that he called in a false bomb threat against the man who posted them.

Mar 3, 2020, 2:50 am*


Fidel Martinez 

Fidel Martinez

A Facebook photo is behind a hoax that grounded an airplane flying from Philadelphia to Dallas.

On Thursday morning, authorities ordered US Airways Flight 1267 to turn around after the Philadelphia Police received a phone call from Kenneth Smith Jr., 26, claiming that a passenger on the plane had liquid explosives on his body.

The passenger in question was Christopher Shell, 29, the ex-boyfriend of Smith’s current girlfriend. A SWAT team removed Shell from the plane but didn’t discover any explosives, leading authorities to call the event a hoax.

According to an FBI affidavit, Smith called in the fake threat because of a photo of Smith’s girlfriend that Shell had uploaded to Facebook.

“Smith states that his motive for doing so was to avenge Person 1’s [Shell’s] ex-girlfriend of whom Person 1 had posted a compromising picture on Facebook,” said the affidavit, as reported by Reuters.

Although the Facebook photo in question has not been released or described in court documents, Smith’s lawyer, William Brennan, described it as “the kind of photo that could incense a boyfriend.”

According to Patricia Hartman, a spokesperson for the United States Attorney’s Office, Smith could face up to 10 years in prison and be fined upwards of $250,000 for making a false report.

Prior to the whole incident, Shell, who was on his way back to his native Fort Worth to celebrate his 29th birthday, posted two photos of himself inside the aircraft. He also expressed his dissatisfaction over the fact that the plane was being turned around.

“Im [sic] not going to lie, I’m pretty disappointed in US Airways currently. We just spent a half hour in the air to be notified that the plane, “has technical difficulties” and had to fly back! Flight 1267 CANCELED. Gay!”

Unfortunately for Shell, he was unable to escape the long arm of the law. Although he was cleared of any link to the alleged explosives, he was later arrested near Dallas on unrelated drug charges.

Photo via Christopher Shell/Facebook

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*First Published: Sep 7, 2012, 6:40 pm