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Jacksonville 'bomber' in custody after airport scare

The Jacksonville International Airport was shut down for nearly five hours Tuesday after police found two suspicious packages on the tarmac, leaving planes and passengers stranded. NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.

Jacksonville International Airport in Florida was closed for six hours after a man going through security told a checker that he had a bomb hidden inside his camouflage backpack, authorities said Wednesday.

The man, Zeljko Causevic, was charged with having a hoax bomb. He told authorities that the device — a luggage scale with two batteries and a microchip, plus a remote “detonator” — was “supposed to be a bomb, but it’s not.”

Zeljko Causevic, 39, of Jacksonville, Florida is shown in this booking photo provided by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office October 2, 2013. The trucking company worker was arrested on charges of making a false bomb threat that prompted a five-hour evacuation at Jacksonville International Airport in Florida, jail records showed on Wednesday. REUTERS/Jacksonville Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters (UNITED STATES - Tags: CRIME LAW) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

A second man was stopped in an airport garage for acting suspiciously and was charged with resisting arrest, but he did not appear to be connected to Causevic, an airport spokesman, Michael Stewart, told reporters. 

The second man was identified by authorities as Manuel Rivera, 35, of Rockford, Ill.

Causevic, 39, who lives in Jacksonville, was going through security just after 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when he made the remark about a bomb to a Transportation Security Administration agent, according to an arrest warrant.

A source close to the investigation told NBC News on Wednesday that the main suspect was known to counterterrorism officials.

The pilot of a US Airways plane that was taxiing at the time decided to turn around out of caution. A passenger on that flight was interviewed by authorities but was not arrested, the airport spokesman said.

The airport is a joint civilian and military facility north of the city. It served 5.2 million passengers last year. Twenty-two flights into and out of Jacksonville were canceled yesterday, according to the flight tracking site FlightAware, and Stewart said seven more were canceled Wednesday morning because the planes never flew in the night before.

Causevic and Rivera were to appear in court in the afternoon, according to WTLV, the NBC affiliate in Jacksonville.

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