Sister: Airport Hoax Victim Nervous, Scared

The sister of the man taken from a US Airways flight in handcuffs talks to NBC10 about her brother.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC10's Vince Lattanzio takes a look at the posts, photos, and videos on the Facebook of Chris Shell. Police say, Shell was an innocent victim in the airplane hoax. (Published Thursday, Sep 6, 2012)

    Nervous, scared and in awe, that's how Christopher Shell's sister described his mood shortly after his arrest, as she spoke to NBC10's Vince Lattanzio via Facebook late Thursday morning.

    Shell is the victim of a hoax that cost taxpayers more than $10,000, put Shell in handcuffs, and had the US Airways jet he was on turned around in mid-flight for security reasons.

    Airport Hoax Victim Had No Idea He'd Been Targeted

    [PHI] Airport Hoax Victim Had No Idea He'd Been Targeted
    A Philadelphia man no idea he was the reason a US Airways jet was diverted in mid-flight and forced to return to Philly International Airport. Someone played a prank on Christopher Shell, telling local police that he was carrying a hazardous substance on the plane. Shell was an innocent victim in the hoax, police say. (Published Thursday, Sep 6, 2012)

    Shell was on his way to visit family in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas Thursday morning to celebrate his 29th birthday. He was taken from US Airways Flight 1267 in handcuffs.

    Shell's neighbor in South Philadelphia tells NBC10 that he gave him a ride to the airport.

    "I gave him a ride as a neighbor. I don't know him very well, he seemed like a decent guy, still does. It seems like it was just a terrible joke, childish prank by someone who doesn't know how to behave," said Dean Lewin, South Philadelphia.

    Philadelphia Police say someone called Philadelphia Police Airport Headquarters and said a man was planning to take a dangerous substance onto a flight to Texas.

    Kristie Kirkland Mangrum, Shell's sister, told NBC10 her brother called to tell her his flight was delayed and that he was surrounded by FBI agents.

    Mangrum says he didn't elaborate on who may have made the hoax call, he told his sister he'd tell her more later. Shell was not charged with any crimes.

    Shell's Facebook page lists his employer as 2020 Companies, an outsourced direct sales and management solutions provider. Mangrum says her brother moved to Philadelphia shortly after their mother passed away in 2011 to pursue job opportunities.

    Posts on Shell's Facebook page indicate he had no idea he was involved in any sort of security threat to Flight 1267. Shortly after the plane was told to return to Philadelphia International, Shell posted "Im not going to lie, 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."

    NBC10  has spoken with some of Shell's Facebook friends who say he's a nice guy and they have no idea why someone would want make him the butt of what Philadelphia Police are calling a "pretty nasty trick."