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Knife boast aboard plane spurs arrest

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A judge set a $500,000 bond Thursday for a man arrested by airport police after he called a talk radio show and said he had boarded a plane with a knife concealed in his belt.

Robert Hedrick, 37, slouched against a wall during his hearing, his hands handcuffed in front of him. He is charged with carrying a weapon aboard an aircraft, a felony.

"This is not a time to be seeking publicity, Mr. Hedrick," Municipal Judge W. Dwayne Maynard said.

Hedrick, of nearby Delaware, Ohio, called a Columbus talk show on Wednesday and said he had inadvertently boarded a US Airways flight in Greensboro, N.C., with a 3-inch knife hidden in his belt, said Angie Neal, a spokeswoman at Port Columbus International Airport. She said a listener notified authorities.

Hedrick's flight had a layover in Pittsburgh, but he did not have to pass through security there, Neal said.

Hedrick called the show from the Pittsburgh airport and again from the plane after it touched down in Columbus, program director Steve Konrad said. 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."

According to Konrad, Hedrick said he noticed the knife was part of his belt buckle during a trip to the bathroom.

Columbus airport police officer Troy Mills said officers decided to check the belt buckles of all males getting off the plane. He said Hedrick told police he was the man they were looking for.

After the hearing, Mills said Hedrick indicated he had called the station to get advice on what to do. Konrad, the program director, said Hedrick told the show's producer, "I've just got to tell somebody."

Hedrick lives on a farm and the telephone there was busy Thursday. He works for a medical distribution company and has a second job as a township zoning inspector, police said.

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

Police at Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro declined to comment.