LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The 28-year-old LAX employee accused of planting dry ice bombs around the airport faced a judge for the first time Thursday and pleaded not guilty.
Dicarlo Bennett, of Paramount, was charged with two counts of possession of a destructive device in a public place, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced.
The Servisair employee was arrested at his home Tuesday by Los Angeles police after he allegedly placed several dry ice bombs near around terminals at LAX.
One device exploded in an employee restroom in Terminal 2 Sunday. A second went off outside the Tom Bradley International Terminal Monday night.
Two additional dry ice bombs were also discovered by authorities before they were detonated.
Police said Bennett told them he was just committing “pranks” and that he was not a disgruntled employee or linked to any terrorist organizations.
“Prank. Curiosity. A person familiar with the device wanted to experience constructing it and detonating it,” Lt. John Karle said. “He was very cooperative. He obviously knew the wrongfulness of his actions.”
Seeing her son in court Thursday, reduced Bennett’s mother to tears.
Bennett’s mother and sister-in-law spoke to KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen on condition that their names and faces not be used.
“I can’t believe what is happening,” his mother said, “Just looking at him in there. When he closes his eyes … he couldn’t look at me.”
“I truly don’t believe that he did this,” said his sister-in-law, “I think he was most likely set up.”
Police have not said if Bennett confessed but said he is being “very cooperative.”
Bennett’s next court appearance is October 23 at 8:30 a.m.
If convicted, Bennett faces up to six years in county jail.