Bond Set For Man Who Told Radio Show About Concealed Knife

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A judge Thursday scolded a man who boarded a US Airways plane with a hunting knife in his belt and called a radio talk show host, telling listeners -- and authorities -- what he had done.

Bond was set at $500,000 for Robert Hedrick, 37, of nearby Delaware. He was arrested Wednesday night at Port Columbus International Airport, and charged with a felony of carrying a concealed weapon. Conviction carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

"This is not a time to be seeking publicity, Mr. Hedrick," Judge W. Dwayne Maynard, said during Hedrick's arraignment in Franklin County Municipal Court.

Wearing handcuffs and khaki prison clothes, Hedrick slouched against a wall in the courtroom, holding a manila file folder in front of his face (as pictured, above). He made no statements during the court appearance, but conferred briefly with a court-appointed attorney before returning to Franklin County Jail.

Airport police officer Troy Mills told Maynard that Hedrick cooperated with authorities and that he called Columbus radio station WTVN-AM twice seeking advice on what to do. The buckle of Hedrick's belt, Mills said, was actually a sheath that hid a five-inch hunting knife with a three-inch blade.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating how Hedrick got through a security checkpoint at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C., where he boarded his first of two planes. Airport officials wouldn't discuss the case and International Total Services, a Cleveland-based company that operates the security checkpoints for US Airways, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

According to police reports, Hedrick told authorities that he passed through the checkpoint and didn't remember that he was wearing the belt until he was in the restroom.

He said he then boarded US Airways Express Flight 5259 in Greensboro for Pittsburgh, and then switched planes in Pittsburgh to board US Airways Flight 1192, which was headed to Columbus.

Hedrick did not have to pass through security when he switched planes. When it left Pittsburgh, Flight 1192, which had originated in Rochester, N.Y., carried 58 passengers and five crew members.

Hedrick called the radio station from the Pittsburgh airport, telling the show he was surprised he could have boarded the airplane.

A listener notified authorities, said Angie Neal, spokeswoman for Port Columbus.

Mills said airport police were alerted by the FBI in Pittsburgh that a man on a flight out of Pittsburgh had a knife in his belt buckle.

After the plane landed about 6:30 p.m. in Columbus, Mills said, authorities checked all the belt buckles of male passengers. When the police got to Hedrick, he told officers that he knew why they were there and that he was man who had the knife.

Hedrick said that once he remembered he had the knife, he called The John Corby Show on WTVN to find out what to do, but did not know he was on the air, according to police reports.

Hedrick told authorities that he called the show again from the plane as it sat at a gate in Columbus, but ended the conversation after the pilot told the passengers there had been a security breach.

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

He said there was no indication why Hedrick had called and that 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."

Hedrick was not put on the air a second time, Konrad said.

Court officials identified Hedrick as a technical engineer who works for a medical distribution company and is a township zoning inspector.

Hedrick's wife, Kristine, declined to discuss her husband's arrest when reached by phone at home Thursday.

"I'm waiting on a call from my husband," she said. "I can't tie up this line."

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