PHILADELPHIA — A former Arizona State University professor has been
acquitted of charges that he threatened screeners at Philadelphia’s iconic
Liberty Bell by telling them that he had explosives.
Forty-two-year-old Carlos Balsas had been in custody in lieu of $250,000 bail
since he was arrested Jan. 26 on a felony bomb threat charge near Independence
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Common Pleas Court
Judge Diana Anhalt acquitted Balsas on Monday.
Balsas, a Portuguese citizen, called it a misunderstanding, saying he told the
screener, “I have a bunch of exclusives” — a literal translation of the
Portuguese word for personal property.
Officials said Balsas, an Arizona State professor from 2004 to 2011, was
touring the city’s historic sites on his way to a job interview at Rutgers
University. Witnesses testified that he became upset when authorities started to
search his courier sack and backpack and said, “I have a bunch of explosives in
He then grabbed his bags and walked out, saying, “This is the way they treat
you in America,” according to witnesses. National Park Service rangers followed
him and arrested him nearby. Authorities searched the backpack and found no
Balsas, a Portuguese citizen who has been in the United States for 17 years,
called it a misunderstanding, saying he told the screener,”`I have a bunch of
exclusives” _ a literal translation of the Portuguese word for personal
Prosecutors said Balsas had never offered that explanation before.
Anhalt said she would have convicted Balsas of resisting arrest and disorderly
conduct, but he wasn’t charged with those offenses.