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October 18, 2013

Man leaves knife in carry-on bag

TRAVERSE CITY — The discovery of a knife in a Williamsburg man’s carry-on bag at Cherry Capital Airport didn’t stop him from boarding his flight, but could leave him grounded in the county jail for up to a year.

Kevin Scott Reffitt, 43, faces a misdemeanor charge of possessing a weapon in a sterile area of a commercial airport. The police report for the Sept. 28 incident states the 3.5-inch folding “buck knife” with a camouflage handle was found at a security checkpoint.

“In speaking with him, he admitted that the knife belonged to him, however, (he) went on to state that the knife is used strictly for hunting purposes and he had forgotten that it was still in his bag,” the police report states.

Reffitt was allowed to board his flight from Traverse City to Minneapolis, but the matter is far from closed after a warrant was filed in 86th District Court this week. Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Bob Cooney didn’t talk specifically about the pending case, but said his office receives similar cases every couple of months and most never lead to criminal charges.

“In general when speaking about these types of cases, I know I declined a number of these,” he said. “Factors I’m looking at when making decisions are criminal history, the type of weapon and circumstance in which it was carried.”

Eighty-sixth District Court records show Reffitt pleaded guilty in 2011 to charges of domestic violence and resisting and obstructing a police officer. Cooney said he believes this is only case at Cherry Capital Airport to lead to criminal charges this year.

Airport Director Kevin Klein said travelers occasionally forget they stowed pocket knives in their bags or bring utensils for cutting fruit that don’t fit FAA guidelines. He said police usually conduct interviews and conduct criminal history checks.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time the passenger is allowed to continue on and fly,” he said.

All knives are prohibited except for plastic or round-bladed butter knives, as are other sharp objects such as box cutters, ice picks, razor blades, scissors with blades longer than 4 inches and swords.

Reffitt hadn’t been arraigned as of Thursday. The charge carries a penalty of up to a year in jail.

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