Police: Man's Ex-Girlfriend, Her New Beau Play 'Nasty Trick,' Frighten Many

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Everybody has rough breakups, but they don’t usually end with the FBI pulling you off of an airplane. That is unless you’re the unlucky man who tried to fly out of Philadelphia on Thursday.

As Christopher Shell found out, breaking up really is hard to do. An ongoing fight with his ex-girlfriend led to him getting removed from a US Airways flight after what police are calling a “nasty prank,” CBS 2’s Chris Wragge reported.

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Shell never expected that the end of a relationship would lead to him getting pulled off a plane for questioning.

“He was obviously very alarmed as I would be if, if heavily armed police officers entered a plane to take me off. He was certainly stunned,” Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan said.

He was on a US Airways flight bound from Philadelphia to Dallas that got turned back not long after leaving the airport. It seems his ex-girlfriend’s new beau called the airport, gave Shell’s name and said he was going to smuggle explosives through security.

None of that was true.

“There was a threat. That threat was unfounded. That flight was never in any danger,” Sullivan said. “The male that was briefly taken in for investigation has committed no crime.”

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Shell didn’t know right away that he was the focus of the investigation. He posted to Facebook as it all unfolded: “I’m pretty disappointed in US Airways currently. We just spent a half hour in the air to be notified that the plane “has technical difficulties” and had to fly back! Flight 1267 CANCELED.”

But the entire probe was apparently sparked by Shell’s ugly breakup. CBS 2’s Wragge has learned that he and his ex’s new boyfriend were engaged in a war over words in text messages, voicemail and on Facebook. The ex-girlfriend and her new mate became enraged when Shell claimed he had slept with his old girlfriend again. They responded in text messages, saying they were going to do something to make his life miserable.

“All indications are that this was a hoax and a pretty nasty trick was played on a passenger,” Sullivan said.

Under questioning, a shocked Shell showed FBI agents the texts and voice mails from his ex and her new boyfriend. Now, it’s the life of the new boyfriend that may be getting difficult.

“There are gonna be very serious charges,” Sullivan said. “It’s just incredibly foolish and irresponsible to do. And the bottom line is it’s criminal.”

Shell was cleared by authorities and rebooked onto another flight for Texas. As for the passengers and crew members aboard his original flight, they were re-screened. After authorities found no explosives on the plane, they were able to fly on to Texas as well.

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