A Decatur man spent a scary hour or so at the Indianapolis International Airport Saturday after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents checking his bag discovered a loaded gun.
Dave Schnitz, 57, owner of Schnitz Racing, N. Third Street, Decatur, was briefly taken into custody around 5 a.m. after TSA personnel charged him with entering an airport with a weapon. He was taken to the Marion County Arrestee Processing Center, but was later released and charges are not going to be filed.
Schnitz told the Democrat today that he was on his way to a race in Valdosta, Georgia, when stopped by the TSA. Reports indicate police found more than $400 on Schnitz and $2,500 in his wallet. Schnitz said the money was for race-related activities and it was normal to carry that amount of money in a situation like that.
Schnitz readily admitted to authorities the gun was his, adding that he has carried a personal protection permit for 36 years and has never had any prior criminal convictions. He said he was interviewed thoroughly by authorities and found some of the questions interesting.
"One of the things that worked in my favor was not only that I hadn't had any convictions before or carried a gun permit, but that my wife and I have been married for 35 years. There was a whole string of questions," he said.
Schnitz said he was treated fairly by TSA and investigating authorities, noting that "they treat everyone the same."
Schnitz said he had packed his bag himself and noted, "I guess I didn't check it thoroughly enough (to make sure the loaded gun wasn't included)." Normally, he said, he doesn't carry his weapon on the plane.
Had he been officially charged, Schnitz said the offense would have been considered a misdemeanor and not a federal charge. He was told by officials in Indianapolis that charges would not be filed.
Needless to say, Schnitz missed his flight to Valdosta. So "I just took the next one."