MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Police have arrested a California man in connection with a bomb scare that shut down the Venetian Causeway for hours and delayed a flight at Miami International Airport on Wednesday.
According to the arrest affidavit, Anand Raja, 46, of Redondo Beach, California is charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon and Possession of a Hoax Bomb.
Miami Police Officer Kenia Fallat told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “This case was an example of great work by our detectives and bomb squad as well as Miami-Dade Police. Initially, we found the suspicious items and the luggage left behind. So we started piecing this puzzle together and turns out we found who were looking for. I know this whole episode was an inconvenience to residents but in the end it worked out. Fortunately, no one was hurt but it could have taken a turn for the worse and that’s why I am glad we took every precaution. This is also a reminder that if you ever see something suspicious such as this luggage left behind, call police immediately. We can’t stress that enough.”
Fallat said, “We do know that he had a fake bomb in that car.”
According to the report, Raja left ten pieces of luggage behind after checking out of the Marriott Hotel at 633 N. Bayshore Drive.
The luggage, considered abandoned property, was searched and security found a “metal device and three throwing knives along with what appeared to be a stick of dynamite and a battery source,” states the police report.
When Raja checked out of the hotel, he went to Miami International Airport around 1:00 a.m.
Realizing he had arrived at the airport hours before his 1:45 p.m. scheduled flight, he had a female friend pick him up at the airport around 3:00 a.m. They went to an apartment at the Venetia located at 555 NE 15th Street.
Around 8:00 a.m., they got into a verbal argument and she asked him to leave at which point, the police the report states, “he grabbed a steak knife and pointed it her, making movements towards her face.”
He eventually left the apartment and made his way back to the airport around noon, according to police.
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Miami Police were already looking for him at the airport, found him in the departures terminal of American Airlines and detained him.
Due to the suspected explosive devices that Raja had in his luggage, authorities locked down the airport for several hours.
Passengers on American Airlines Flight 1344 were deboarded on the tarmac so authorities could sweep the plane. The flight eventually took off without incident.
Since Raja also had luggage in a car parked in the garage of the Venetia apartment complex, the City of Miami Police Department locked down the immediate area including the entire Venetian Causeway and conducted a massive bomb sweep.
At around 9 p.m. Wednesday, Miami police deemed the area safe and reopened the Causeway.