49-year-old Geoffrey McGann was carrying what they believed are components that could be used to make a bomb.
It was just about 8 p.m. on Thursday when McGann was going through the checkpoint at Southwest Airlines. He was headed back to his home in Rancho Palos Verdes.
McGann reportedly took off his watch and put it in the bin along with his carry on. Investigators say he covered it with his coat. An alert TSA officer didn't like what he saw.
"The watch had on it a toggle switch, a series of fuses, a series of wires protruding from it, a circuit board," Alameda County Sheriff's Sgt. JD Nelson said. Even though the TSA found no explosives, Nelson says the bomb squad determined that McGann had all the ingredients to make a timing device for a bomb.
Additionally, Nelson says there were other strange things about McGann; his boots were two sizes too big and they were stuffed with layers of insoles, something the shoe bomber Richard Reed did, "They also had what appeared to be a homemade cavity in them," Nelson said.
It's a place where he could have hidden something. Nelson says his attire was also strange, "He was wearing a military style shirt which has a built-in tourniquet in the sleeves." Soldiers learn how to tighten the tourniquet to stop bleeding if they receive an arm injury.
Nelson says it was the totality of everything they found that made them suspicious, and that led to his arrest.
Passengers we spoke with on this day, one of the busiest travel times of the year, applauded the TSA, "
"You never know who's going to try to pull whatever off and it's good we have these measures in place if they do catch them," passenger Debbie Johnson said.
Chicago resident Glaydis Rice added that she's always vigilant anyway when she travels, "You see something and don't report it, that makes them just as guilty as the person doing it."
The burning question -- what was McGann up to? Nelson gave one possible answer, "That's always a concern, is that somebody's making a dry run, exactly."
McGann told investigators he is an artist and what he was carrying was artwork. ABC7 News did find a website for a Geoffrey McGann. If it is the same person, he is indeed an artist and a photographer.
He's being held at Santa Rita Jail, charged with possession of materials to make a destructive device