A just-released parolee accused of evading security at Lindbergh Field and getting onto a Los Angeles-bound commuter jet without a ticket pleaded not guilty Thursday to three misdemeanor charges, including unlawfully tampering with airport security devices.
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Besides the tampering count, Duncan is charged with unlawfully entering a restricted area and unlawfully activating a security alarm without an emergency. He faces a maximum of six months in jail for each charge if convicted, prosecutors said.
Duncan allegedly walked through an emergency door at the airport's Commuter Terminal about 11 a.m. Tuesday, crossed the tarmac and boarded the propeller aircraft along with several dozen passengers, according to Marguerite Elicone, a spokeswoman for the Port of San Diego.
Elicone said Duncan was somehow able to blend in with the passengers and get on the plane.
An alarm notified security personnel about the breach, Elicone said. As officers were en route to the tarmac, airport personnel contacted the pilot of the commuter aircraft, who directed a flight attendant to conduct a passenger head count.
When contacted by the cabin-crew member, Duncan, who reportedly appeared disheveled, was cooperative and immediately debarked. Security personnel arrested him outside the plane without incident, Elicone said, adding that the suspect was in custody six minutes after the emergency alarm sounded.
The parolee told the officers he had sneaked onto the aircraft in an attempt to "get home," the spokeswoman said.
The 27 ticketed passengers on the flight were taken off the plane to allow for a security sweep before the flight was cleared to proceed.
Authorities said Duncan had been released from jail the previous day following a stint for theft.
A readiness conference was set for June 8 and trial for June 20.
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