Man Arrested After Telling Radio Station He Had Knife On Plane

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A man who told radio talk show listeners about boarding a plane with a knife concealed in his belt readily told police upon landing that he was the man they sought, an officer said in court Thursday.

Robert Hedrick, 37, of nearby Delaware, was arrested Wednesday night and charged with a felony of carrying a concealed weapon aboard an aircraft, according to documents in Franklin County Municipal Court.

Hedrick told the talk show he was surprised that he could have boarded the airplane.

"This is not a time to be seeking publicity, Mr. Hedrick," Municipal Court Judge W. Dwayne Maynard said Thursday. Maynard set bond at $500,000.

Hedrick slouched against a wall in the court, holding a manila file folder in front of his face. His hands were handcuffed in the front.

Airport police officer Troy Mills told Maynard that the knife was a 5-inch hunting knife with a 3-inch blade.

He said airport police were alerted by the FBI in Pittsburgh that a man got on US Airways flight 1192 in Greensboro, N.C., with a knife in his belt buckle. Hedrick's flight had a layover in Pittsburgh, but he did not have to pass through security there.

After the plane landed about 6:30 p.m., Mills said the decision was made to check all belt buckles of the males getting off. When the police got to Hedrick, he told officers that he knew why they were there, and that he was the man who had gotten on the plane with a knife.

Mills said after court that Hedrick indicated that he called the radio station to get advice on what to do.

Hedrick called afternoon talk show host John Corby on radio station WTVN from the Pittsburgh airport, program director Steve Konrad said Thursday.

He said there was nothing sinister about the call.

"We had no idea there was anything other than surprise and dismay on his part," Konrad said. "He wasn't bragging like all those bozos are saying."

Konrad said there was no indication why Hedrick had called. He said Hedrick had noticed when he was in a bathroom that the knife was part of his belt buckle.

Hedrick initially talked to show producer Joe Bradley, who told him that going on the air might cause problems, Konrad said. "He says, I've just got to tell somebody," Konrad said.

Konrad said Hedrick called back to the station as the airplane arrived in Columbus, but before it arrived at the gate. Bradley could hear someone speaking on the public address system, telling
everyone to stay seated because there had been a security breach, Konrad said.

Konrad said Hedrick told Bradley he could not stay on the phone.

A woman who answered the phone at Hedrick's home Wednesday night identified herself as his wife and said she knew nothing of his arrest.

"Excuse me? Are you for real?" she told The Columbus Dispatch. "My husband called a radio station? That makes no sense."

She declined to say much more, saying she needed to reach her husband, but confirmed that he was on a flight Wednesday. An attempt was made to reach her early Thursday, but the phone was busy.

Hedrick lives on a farm. He works for a medical distribution company and has a second job as a township zoning inspector, Mills said.

John Bronson, a spokesman for Arlington, Va.-based US Airways, said the airline was aware of the arrest, but any details would have to be obtained from police.

"We take such incidents very seriously and we are working with the local and federal authorities in their investigations to determine the motivation of this individual," Bronson said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)