Suspect arrested for bomb scares that shut down Venetian Causeway, part of Miami airport

California man also had incident at Miami Beach hotel

Police stopped a suspect before he could board a flight out of Miami International Airport after suspicious devices were found in luggage he had left behind.

MIAMI, Fla. – A man from California is under arrest after several incidents around Miami.

On Wednesday, police said Anand Raja, 46, of Redondo Beach, Calif., left luggage containing suspicious devices at a hotel and in a car. He was taken into custody before he could board an American Airlines flight out of Miami International Airport.

It all started at the JW Marriott Hotel not far from the Venetian Causeway on Wednesday.

Kenia Fallat of the Miami Police explains: “We received a call from security at the JW Marriott close to the Venetian Island. He left some luggage behind. When they did inventory, they saw something that appeared to be suspicious.”

Raja went to the Miami International Airport to catch an American Airlines flight to Charlotte, N.C. Police said when he realized his flight wasn’t for several hours, a woman picked him up.

They then went to her apartment at the Venetia Condos on NE 15th Street.

“There was some sort of altercation between (the two),” Fallat said. “He grabbed a knife. He threatened her. She was able to free himself from her. He left luggage behind in her car.”

Police said Raja then took a ride share car back to the airport. That’s when Miami Police alerted Miami-Dade Police that the suspect was attempting to leave the area.

Before the flight could take off, Raja was stopped at the airport.

The Departures level at the American Airlines level of MIA was closed down for a few hours Wednesday as passengers waited while police investigated. The plane that Raja was supposed to board was also checked for anything suspicious before passengers could board.

At the Venetia Condos, Miami police, Homeland Security and the FBI were all called to the scene parking garage to assist with the bomb threat, where authorities focused on the car.

It wasn’t the first time police had been notified about Raja.

On Jan. 9, Miami Beach police were called to a hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue to speak with the manager after a guest of the hotel reported that a man had told him to “give him a cigarette . . that it would be his last cigarette ever.” The manager also called police because the man, later identified as Raja had two large knives.

Police asked Raja if “he had any thoughts to harm himself or anyone else and he stated, ‘no.’ " He told police he had knives because he was a collector.

As for the luggage left at the Marriott and inside the car at the Venetia Condos, Fallet said that the items appeared “dynamite-looking devices.”

“Fortunate enough, it wasn’t what we expected that it was going to be, but protocol calls for us to comb through everything.”

Raja was intercepted at the airport and was taken in for questioning. He now faces several charges including possession of a fake bomb and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

(Local 10′s Ian Margol contributed to this report.)

About the Authors:

Annaliese Garcia joined Local 10 News in January 2020. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism. She began her career at Univision. Before arriving at Local 10, she was with NBC2 (WBBH-TV) covering Southwest Florida. She's glad to be back in Miami!

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local