They tried to sneak a fake bomb through airport security. It did not end well.

A suspicious item inside a carry-on bag detected by Transportation Security Administration officers Thursday at Newark Liberty International Airport. (TSA photo) Nine people could face more than $13,000 in fines after authorities said the group tried to sneak a fake bomb through airport security and got caught by Transportation Security Administration officers. The incident began Thursday at a TSA checkpoint in Terminal One at Newark Liberty International Airport. Investigators said that while some members of the group attempted to carry the bag through security, others “covertly” filmed the encounter. Officers said that the individuals claimed to be affiliated with a television show but could provide no media credentials. The item in question was packed in a roller bag and included a motor, wires and PVC pipes. CBS2, citing unnamed sources, reported that the group was associated with the CNBC show “Staten Island Hustle.” The television station said that the production company affiliated with the show, Endemol Shine North America, released a statement late Thursday. “We are looking into the details of what happened as a matter of priority and are in contact with relevant authorities on the ground,” the statement said. “While this process is ongoing we are unable to comment further but in the meantime, we sincerely apologize for any disruption caused.” Ruben M. Montenegro, 44, of Staten Island; Samuel Micah Berns, 39, of Hollywood;  Jacob M. Towsley, 34, of Portageville, N.Y.; Michael L. Palmer, 51, of Staten Island; William Oaks, 36, of Brooklyn; Philip K. Nakagami, 26, of Jersey City; Carlos F. Gonzalez, 33, of Queens; Timothy S. Duffy, 34, of Sparta, N.J.; and Adolfo Lacola, 51, of Staten Island were arrested by Port Authority police. Charges include interference with transportation and conspiracy. They were released pending a court appearance. In addition, the men could face civil Continue Reading

Fliers throw punches in ‘near riot’ at delay-plagued JFK Airport

Travelers at JFK Airport were getting snow where fast Saturday. Two days after the last flake fell, JFK was reeling from the first snowstorm of 2018 with equipment malfunctions, dozens of delayed flights and scores of unhappy customers. “We’ve been here since 8 a.m., and our flight keeps getting pushed back,” Leah Golubchick told the Daily News Saturday. “At first they said the baggage machine was frozen, so they were unable to take the bags off the plane. Now they said that the plane is snowed in at the hangar!” “How is 6 inches of snow enough to block a hangar?” the 31-year-old Brooklyn resident asked. “The flight crew and pilots are all here. They’ve been joking about grabbing shovels to help dig the plane out.” Golubchick’s travel problems began Thursday, when the storm forced her original Delta Airlines flight to Denver to be cancelled. She was ultimately put on Saturday’s flight — but the plane didn’t budge. “They’re not even announcing the delays anymore,” she said. “They’re just putting it up on the screen.” A Delta spokeswoman said Saturday night no additional flight cancellations were expected, and crews were focused on reunited passengers with their luggage. Kenneth Watson, an Army vet and graduate student from St. Cloud, Minn., showed up early for his 10:30 a.m. flight on Sun Country Airlines to Minneapolis. He left the airport seven hours later — but he wasn’t flying. “I checked the board and it said it was going to be delayed, and then it was just canceled,” Watson, 38, said. “No one told us anything. There was so much chaos. There were probably tens of thousands of people. It was like I was in a basketball arena.” Ryan Harrison and his family were all set to return home to Johannesburg when their flight was unexpectedly canceled. “The woman in the ticketing station just closed Continue Reading

Newark Liberty International Airport Guide

Contact information and flight status Checkpoint savvyBusiest times: Terminals A, C and Terminal B-1 checkpoint: 5:30 a.m. - 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. Terminal B-2: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m. Terminal B-3: 2 p.m. - 8 p.m.Depending on your airline and your status with TSA, expedited TSA PreCheck lanes may be available. ParkingParking information: 888-397-4636.Most convenient: Valet Parking at Garage P4, $40/day. Short-Term Parking (Lots A and B, and garage C): $8/hour, $39/day. Daily parking (P4): $34. Parking Lots 1 and 3: $27/day. See more options. All lots (including long-term) offer reserved parking for a fee.Least expensive: Economy long-term parking (Lot P6): $18/day. Shuttle to terminals. See more options.Cellphone lot: Located near airport entrance, adjacent to P4 Parking garage. 100 spaces. No services. Transportation to/from cityMost convenient: Taxi (not including tolls/tips/surcharges), $15-18 to Newark, $20-$25 to City of Elizabeth, $50-$70 to New York City. Travel time varies. Note: $5 surcharge added during weekday rush hours to New York, plus surcharge for using credit card. Tips and tolls not included. See fares and more options.Least expensive: AirTrain Newark connects to NJTransit, PATH and Amtrak. NJTransit to New York Penn Station, about $12.50, including airport rail station access fee. Travel time: 30 minutes. Public bus service is available through NJ Transit Bus Lines. See fares, routes and schedules. Newark Airport Express bus to NY Port Authority terminal, Grand Central and Bryant Park, $16/$28 RT (plus $1 admin fee).  Travel time: About 40 minutes. See more options. Wi-Fi and charging stationsComplimentary 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions are available in all terminals. Additional fee-based Wi-Fi service is via Boingo. Unlimited Wi-Fi browsing available at Terminal C (United) on OTG-supplied iPads at gates and in restaurants.Power outlets: Complimentary power charging stations are located in all terminals, post-security. Go localGood choice Continue Reading

Nor’easter: Bridges, trains, airports ready for storm

As a rain and wind storm approaches, transportation agencies are battening down the hatches.The new Tappan Zee Bridge project is among the transportation sites ready for the storm, with equipment secured and moved away from the bridge and a tugboat patrol in the area, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.Generally, the $3.9 billion bridge project has three levels of preparedness. At Level 1, crews prepare for 30 mile per hour winds by securing materials and checking mooring lines. Level 2 sees equipment moved to more protected areas of the river and at Level 3 equipment is moved to more shallow areas. INCOMING NOR'EASTER: What to know now LIST: Schools cancel after-school activities STORM GUIDE: Everything you need to know 7-DAY FORECAST: The forecast for this evening predicts wind gusts up to 40 to 50 miles per hour.On the existing bridge, the Thruway Authority can choose to lower speed limits and limit tractor-trailer traffic when winds increase. The governor said bridge personnel are monitoring wind speeds, though winds would have to be sustained at 45 miles per hour, or gusts of 50 miles per hour, for tractor-trailers to be prohibited.The governor also said tow truck crews are on standby in case of accidents or disabled vehicles.Metro-North, according to the governor's office, has placed additional buses at the Wassaic station in Dutchess County as a precaution.The subway system has pump trains and personnel ready and on and in the MTA bridges and tunnels, crews have checked roadway surfaces, drainage systems and emergency supplies.Shortly before 5:30 p.m. Monday night, the railroad said there were 15 minute delays on the Harlem Line due to congestion caused by an earlier disabled train and speed restrictions. ​ LIVE LOOK: Westchester-Rockland roads TRAFFIC: Map, cameras at RIDE-HAILING: Uber flourishes in the Lower Hudson Valley, despite being illegal FINES: Tappan Continue Reading

Locations for Tuesday Port Authority toll hearings

Here are the times and locations of the Tuesday night hearings: Read more about the Port Authority's controversial planned toll hikes here 8 AM: Newark Liberty International Airport Port Authority Technical Center Port Ivory/Howland Hook Port Authority Bus TerminalTimes Square Conference Room - 2nd Floor6 PM: George Washington Bridge Administration Building Holland Tunnel Administration Building George Washington Bridge Bus Station John F. Kennedy International AirportJamaica, NY 11430   Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Hide and seek: Tailing the TSA’s bomb-sniffing dogs

NEWARK – After more than six hours on her 5 a.m. shift, the cargo inspector finally found it: an explosive device hidden inside a cardboard box, wrapped and presented like a package at someone’s front door.It was only a training exercise, but Pina followed the rules by the book: She sat like a good girl, called in her partner and got her favorite chew toy.Pina, a 5-year-old German short-haired pointer, has been part of the Transportation Security Administration’s canine explosives team for about 18 months, one of more than 800 dogs stationed throughout the country.Every work day, TSA inspector Francis Boccabella will lead Pina through warehouses and ferry terminals and onto cargo planes. They walk up and down the aisles, with Pina leading the way, giving every box, crate and package a cursory sniff or two before trotting along.If she picks up on an “explosive odor,” everything changes: She gives the object a double-take and begins sniffing frantically, wagging her tail before sitting down and looking at Boccabella.“When we walk into a warehouse or a terminal building, she knows we’re at work,” Boccabella said on Friday as Pina continued sniffing around an SAS cargo warehouse at the Newark Liberty International Airport. “When we walk into these buildings during a live search, she gets excited because it’s a game to her.”To Pina, it’s a daily game of hide and seek. As far as she knows, Boccabella has hidden a weird smell somewhere in the cargo warehouse. When she finds it and sits, he pulls out her favorite toy — a rubber Kong toy on a rope — and they rough-house for a minute or two.“Who’s got a good nose? Good girl, Pina!,” he said on Friday, eagerly patting his partner on the side.The TSA dogs serve as a secondary screening source. All airlines are required to screen every piece of cargo entering an airplane, often by contractors armed with screening technology Continue Reading

North Jersey residents tune in to Trump inaugural

They peered at television screens in an Englewood diner, a Hackensack restaurant, a Bedminster pizza parlor, a Boonton bar and a myriad other places Friday to see for themselves the familiar rituals of the transfer of power as Donald Trump became the nation’s 45th president.North Jersey residents, Republicans and Democrats alike, watched the inaugural unfold filled with a sweeping range of emotions about what they want for the country, and what Trump will be like in the Oval Office.Some watched with a sense of great hope – eager to see the new president fulfill the campaign promises that prompted them to vote for him. Others expressed sadness, even some fear. Some showed little interest, while others actively avoided watching as a symbolic protest.Those who watched saw Trump, one of the most distinctive and polarizing presidents to take office in recent memory, lay his hand on two Bibles – one from his family and one previously used by Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama. Trump assumes power over a divided country with emotions still raw from the election, when he defeated the Democratic nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. NEW JERSEY: Trump backers fexcited by change that's coming LIVE FROM DC: #TeamRecord covers Inauguration Day PHOTOS: Donald Trump's inauguration in Washington, D.C. Some supporters said Trump generally and his inaugural address in particular were a refreshing change from the persona and the traditional talk of career politicians. They said they hoped he would create jobs and end corruption in government. They said he certainly sounded as if he was “for America.”Some talked of their fears – that they will lose certain rights, that their health care could be swept away, that Trump could lead the nation into another war.But on this day, even some detractors said the country should – for the greater good of the nation – give Continue Reading

Ex-Continental Airlines agent pleads guilty to running $1M voucher scam to fund shopping sprees

A former part-time Continental Airlines agent got a one-way ticket to prison Tuesday when she fessed up to running a $1 million voucher scam. Victoria Scardigno, 33, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to wire fraud for printing bogus vouchers and selling them to customers from her station at Newark Liberty International Airport. "I became involved in a fraudulent scheme to sell vouchers," she told Judge John Koeltl. "Most of the received-from purchases were kept ... in my checking account." Prosecutors said Scardigno sold the vouchers for as much as $600 a pop. Scardigno admitted the scheme involved huge wire transactions, including one for $16,600 to her Wachovia Bank account near her home in Weehawken, N.J. Scardigno spent much of her haul on big shopping sprees at Louis Vuitton and Coach, prosecutors said. Before she pleaded guilty, prosecutors told the judge they were ready to unveil reams of bank records, emails, telephone records and witness statements from customers who were ripped off. Under the plea, she could get as much as five years in prison. She had faced up to 20 years before the deal. "Did you know what you did was wrong and illegal," Koeltl asked her as part of her plea hearing. "Yes," Scardigno said. Her lawyer, Richard Lind, declined to comment. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Continental Airlines ticket agent busted for pocketing $1M from bogus voucher sales

A Continental Airlines ticket agent may have bought herself a one-way ticket to prison.Victoria Scardigno is accused of pocketing $1 million by printing up bogus vouchers and selling them for as much as $600 each to unsuspecting Continental customers.To hide her tracks, Scardigno used some of her scammed dough to buy legit tickets for some of her victims who tried to use the voucher for a round-trip flight, Manhattan federal prosecutors claimed.The high-flying ticket agent spent thousands of her ill-gotten gains on shopping sprees at Louis Vuitton and Coach, the feds said. Scardigno, 32, faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.She sold her bogus vouchers from her station at Newark Liberty International Airport, authorities said.The real vouchers are given to compensate customers who were bumped off flights because of overbooking, delays or cancellations. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Amsterdam: a city on the Gogh

When I first visited Amsterdam seven years ago, I was awed by the city's charm and beauty - it seemed too perfect to be true. The peaceful tree-lined canals, the narrow gabled buildings, the straight-backed locals whizzing by on black bikes. I was also enamored by the quality of the museums, especially for a relatively small city. But at that time, I wouldn't say that Amsterdam was particularly trendy or cutting edge. On a recent visit, I noticed that has changed in a big way. In the last decade, Amsterdam has become one of Europe's leading design capitals. Modern art galleries and avant-garde clothing boutiques have opened in newly hip neighborhoods. The dining scene is also buzzing with stylish restaurants and cocktail lounges that seem transplanted from Manhattan's Meatpacking District. Over a long weekend, I explored the exciting new aspects of Amsterdam, but I also made sure to save time for the attractions for which the city is most known - and no, I'm not talking about the infamous red-light district or the coffee shops selling legal marijuana. The central canal belt - one of the most picturesque areas in all of Amsterdam - certainly falls into that category. It's a great place to start a city tour, especially for first-time visitors. Many opt for a canal cruise, but you'll probably see more on foot. Along Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht, two of the prettiest canals, you'll find the grand houses built by merchants who grew wealthy during Holland's Golden Age in the 17th century. In the heart of the canal belt is a neighborhood called the Nine Streets. Its name may lack originality (yes, it's a nine-block area, bordered by Singel and Prinsengracht canals), but along its cobbled streets is an eclectic mix of independent shops, galleries and cafes - and not a chain store in sight. On Reestraat, check out the leather bags in all shapes and sizes at Chris & Sam; on Hartenstraat, the shoes at Hester Van Eeghen, with color combos like hot Continue Reading