The 22-year-old Sacramento resident was passing through the airport security screening area, on his way to board a flight shortly before 7:30 a.m., when security officials asked him to step into another area for a secondary screening, according to police spokesman Dirk Parsons.
Parsons did not immediately know the destination of the man's flight, or what caused security agents to flag him for more screening.
At that point, the man turned around and ran down the escalators, through the ticketing area and out of the airport, Parsons said. He was either in his socks or his bare feet, presumably because he removed his shoes during the security screening.
"He went back out through the way he came," Parsons said. "There was never any breach of security or disruption or threat to security in the airport."
Police have determined that the man approached somebody in a car and asked for a ride, Parsons said. "At this point it doesn't look like he knew the person."
He was dropped off near North First Street and East Brokaw Road, near the airport, Parsons said. Police combed the area until an officer spotted the man "just sitting there" near North First Street and Karina Court.
He did not resist arrest, Parsons said, and was not armed.
The man is being questioned and will be booked on a charge of bypassing an airport screening, Parsons said. "Obviously there's more investigating to do on this."