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Man wearing ornate watch with bomb-making supplies arrested at Oakland airport, authorities say

By Erin Ivie, Kristin J. Bender and Katie Nelson, Oakland Tribune –

OAKLAND, Calif.—A Southern California man headed home from a business trip was arrested at Oakland airport Thursday night after federal security agents found bomb-making materials in his elaborate watch, according to a spokesman from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

Geoffrey McGann, 49, was arrested for felony possession of materials to make an explosive device and remains at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin on $150,000 bail.

McGann reportedly took off his watch while going through a security checkpoint at Terminal 2 about 7:45 p.m. and put it in the security bin along with his carry-on luggage and covered it with his coat, according to Sgt. J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.

Nelson said an agent with the Transportation Security Administration initially spotted the watch, which had a large leather strap with a protruding toggle switch, wires and fuses and a circuit board. McGann told authorities he is an artist and the watch was one of his art pieces.

In addition to the strange watch, Nelson said there were other suspicious things about McGann: his boots were two sizes too big and they were stuffed with layers of homemade insoles, which allowed for large cavities where someone would be able to hide items.

Nelson also said McGann was wearing a military-style shirt with a built-in tourniquet in the sleeves, often used by soldiers to stop bleeding if they receive an arm injury.

“In its totality, it didn’t add up,” Nelson said. “He was on a trip for work and he didn’t have to check any bags. Everything didn’t seem right. It didn’t pass the smoke test.”

The bomb squad arrived within 10 minutes after the 7:45 p.m. call and after examining McGann’s watch, found no explosive materials present, Nelson said.

“He had every component to make a trigger mechanism,” Nelson said. “Was it? No. But was everything there? Yes.”

McGann was arrested under a section in the state’s penal code that says that “a person who possesses any substance, material, or any combination of substances or materials, with the intent to make any destructive device or any explosive without first obtaining a valid permit to make that destructive device or explosive, is guilty of a felony.”

McGann was trying to board a Southwest Airlines flight back to his home in Rancho Palos Verdes, according to ABC News.

McGann’s Facebook page says he is a Jiu-Jitsu champion, while his personal website says he worked in the advertising industry on commercials for Nike products, Samsung and Kodak. The site also says he is a photographer and previously taught at art universities.

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