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Unticketed passenger removed from Delta flight in Salt Lake City, police say

Man sneaks on Delta flight
FBI investigates after man caught sneaking onto flight without ticket 01:51

The FBI is investigating after a man authorities say was an unticketed passenger was removed from a Delta Air Lines flight at Salt Lake City International Airport Sunday morning.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, officers arrested Wicliff Fleurizard, 26, of George, Texas, who was removed from Flight 1683, which was to head for Austin. 

The complaint says he had a boarding pass when passing through security but not for the flight he boarded.

It says Fleurizard told police he was in Utah on snowboarding trip to Park City but had to get home to see family members who'd flown in from Florida. He said a friend gave him a free "buddy pass" for Southwest Airlines and that was the ticket he used to get through security, but the flight he intended to get on was full so he went to the Delta gate.

The complaint says he was seen on security camera video using his phone to take pictures of other people's boarding passes without their knowledge and it appears he used one of those pictures to board the Delta plane, where he tried to stow away in first the front and then the rear lavatory. But when he left that lavatory, there were no seats left and, as the plane was taxiing, flight attendants realized there was an issue and the plane returned to the gate.

According to the complaint, Fleurizard "admitted he had made a mistake and was only trying get home."

Salt Lake City Police tell CBS News officers were called to a gate in the A Concourse by the airline around 10:30 a.m. local time following an "on-board incident involving Mr. Fleurizard while the aircraft was preparing to depart."

In a statement, Delta says the airline "is cooperating with law enforcement and relevant federal agencies regarding an investigation into a non-ticketed individual being escorted off an aircraft in Salt Lake City prior to a scheduled departure. We defer any additional questions to law enforcement."

The Transportation Security Administration says in a statement that the suspect  "was screened without incident at the security checkpoint … using a photo ID that matched the name on the boarding pass."

"The passenger had a boarding pass. We don't confirm flight details of individual travelers," a TSA spokesperson said. 

But Delta tells CBS News he "did not have a ticket for DL1683, operating SLC-AUS on March 17."

Police say the suspect is being held on a federal detainer at the Salt Lake County Metro Jail. Records indicate he remains behind bars. 

Flight 1683 departed about half-hour late. 

The FBI declined further comment. 

Last month, a woman boarded an American Airlines Nashville-to-Los Angeles flight without a boarding pass. The TSA confirms the woman was able to sneak past the ID-boarding pass screening but did go through the magnetometers/bags check. 

The woman was taken into FBI custody at LAX on Feb 7.

-- additional reporting by Brian Dakss

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