Woman tries to board Key West flight with box cutter hidden in carry-on bag, FBI says

Alison Pickford arrested after agents find box cutter in hollowed-out book

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
Key West International Airport

KEY WEST, Fla. - A woman was arrested last week after she tried to board a flight at Key West International Airport with a box cutter concealed in a hollowed-out book in her carry-on bag, federal authorities said.

Alison Pickford, who used a Canadian passport as identification, was traveling from Key West to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Jan. 11 when she was arrested by Transportation Security Administration agents, according to a federal criminal complaint.

During an X-ray screening of Pickford's bag, TSA agents noticed what appeared to be a box cutter among her items, FBI Special Agent Nicholas Schnelle wrote in the affidavit.

Schnelle said TSA agents searched Pickford's bag and found the box cutter "concealed inside of a book that had been hollowed out, along with a pack of cigarettes and a black feather."

Pickford admitted that the box cutter was hers and said she planned to put the book inside her checked luggage but mistakenly put it in her carry-on bag, Schnelle wrote.

Box cutters are among the items banned from flights after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Pickford faces charges of carrying a concealed weapon and violating security requirements. She is expected to appear Friday in federal court in Key West.

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