DOCUMENT: Stupid, Crime

Airplane Handgun Smuggle Bid Is Foiled By Feds

Suspect, 53, put loaded firearm in aluminum wrap


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Gun Wrapped In Foil

MAY 13--A man who apparently thought that a pistol wrapped in aluminum foil would be undetectable to airport X-ray machines is facing a federal criminal charge for allegedly trying to smuggle the loaded weapon on a flight from San Francisco to Europe.

Kerry Lee Bobo, 53, was planning to fly last Thursday afternoon to Amsterdam when Transportation Safety Administration screeners “noticed what appeared to be a handgun” in a checked suitcase, according to a U.S. District Court complaint.

When federal agents opened Bobo’s luggage they found a loaded Sig Sauer .45-caliber handgun “wrapped in aluminum foil” and a taser. They then boarded Bobo’s KLM flight and escorted the Atwater, California resident from the aircraft.

During questioning, Bobo said that he was continuing on to Nairobi from Amsterdam and had packed the gun “to protect himself from animals while in Kenya.” Bobo, who was traveling alone, claimed that he had encased the weapon in aluminum foil to “thwart airport baggage personnel from stealing it.”

Investigators were not buying that explanation.

In a sworn affidavit, a Homeland Security agent reported that, “I know that some people believe--incorrectly--that aluminum foil can somehow block x-ray and other security screening devices.” Investigators concluded that Bobo wrapped the firearm in foil “to conceal the handgun and prevent its discovery.” 

Charged with a felony carrying a maximum of ten years in prison, Bobo was released from custody last Friday on a $50,000 unsecured bond. He is scheduled for a May 31 preliminary hearing. (4 pages)