Man Detained by TSA for 20 Hours for Having PowerBars and Watch in his Luggage

58-year-old Roger Vanderklok was on mission to complete 60 half-marathons by the time he was 60. He was only at 38 when he was at the airport on his way to Miami to run another one.

But he was detained by the TSA after personnel searched his bags and found PowerBars and a watch stuffed inside a PVC pipe for protection. Obviously, Vanderklok was incredulous at their decision to detain him over energy bars and wished to file a complaint against them.
In response to his desire to register a complaint, they stuffed him away in a holding cell, and he stayed there for the next 20 hours, without anyone coming in to question him and without being allowed access to a phone where he could at least notify his wife of what was going on.

The TSA supervisor at the time was Charles Kieser, who testified in court that Vanderklok made verbal bomb threats against him and assaulted his face with his index finger. But when surveillance footage was shown, there was no evidence of Vanderklok threatening anyone with anything. Apparently, he stood calmly holding his laptop during the whole ordeal.

So, what was the deal with Power Bars and a watch inside PVC pipe? According to Keiser, “organic mass” and electronics can be used to make explosive devices. But like Vanderklok’s attorney Thomas Malone noted in court: “I don’t think PowerBars are consistent with bombings, nor are watches.”

I think it was the fact that it was in a PVC pipe that made it look like a bomb. Maybe they should ban PVC pipe. WPXI reported:

A judge quickly dismissed threat charges against Vanderklok, who filed his lawsuit Jan. 23, seeking unspecified damages for what he considers a retaliatory arrest. The Philadelphia Daily News first reported on the lawsuit Wednesday.

Malone doesn’t challenge the TSA’s effort to investigate the items in the carry-on but says airport security footage contradicts Kieser’s testimony.

Kieser testified an agitated Vanderklok raised his hands and repeatedly pointed a finger at his face.

“The passenger made a bomb threat to me,” Kieser testified, according to a transcript. “(He said) I’ll bring a bomb through here any day that I want … and you’ll never find it.”

Vanderklok insists he said nothing about a bomb. The security video shows him standing calmly with his arms in front of him holding a laptop, his lawsuit says.

Come on. PowerBars? Really? Maybe this is why the TSA will never catch a terrorist. They’re too busy tracking down all the PowerBars and peanut butter. Maybe they’re just hungry.