11:48 GMT29 September 2020
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    On Friday, nine members of a television crew that tried to smuggle a fake explosive device past security officials at Newark Liberty International Airport were charged, according to reports by nj.com.

    According to the outlet, the culprits were charged with creating a false public alarm, interference with transportation and conspiracy by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police. The group also faces civil penalties of up to $13,000 for each security violation.

    The crew members were released without having to post bail.

    The team was initially arrested on Thursday after security officers with the Transportation Security Administration detected a "suspicious item" in the carry-on bag that the crew had in their possession.

    Inside the bag, TSA agents found "the markings of an improvised explosive device," a spokesperson with the administration said. The roller bag reportedly contained vacuum cleaner parts, PVC pipe and a flexible hose.

    It was not until the offenders were arrested by security staff that they revealed they were crew members for Endemol Shine Group, a Dutch production company, that was contracted to work on the CNBC show "Staten Island Hustle." The tricksters were reportedly trying to film TSA's reaction to the fake explosive.

    ABC News reported that while some members of the group carried the bag to the TSA checkpoint, the remainder of the crew secretly filmed to see what would happen. Their ploy seems to have gotten out of hand, as a TSA bomb tech was at the checkpoint and had the pranksters arrested after examining the device and deeming it a fake.

    "This type of stunt is reckless, dangerous, uninformed and totally insensitive to the reality of the terror threat we face. It is the equivalent to yelling 'Fire!' in a crowded theater or using a toy gun to rob a bank and then claiming that it was just a toy, just to see what happens," Tom Carter, TSA's federal security director for New Jersey, told the New Jersey outlet. "There is simply no excuse for trying to do something like this knowing it had the great potential to cause panic with the intention of turning that panic into a reality show."

    In response to the Thursday arrest, Endemol released a statement saying that they were "looking into" the issue.

    "We are looking into the details of what happened as a matter of priority and are in contact with relevant authorities on the ground," Julie Holland, a spokesperson for Endemol Shine North America, said in a statement. "While this process is ongoing we are unable to comment further, but in the meantime, we sincerely apologize for any disruption caused."

    Endemol is also the production company behind "Masterchef" and "The Biggest Loser." CNBC has yet to release a statement on the matter.


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