An NBC News crew was arrested Wednesday in southern Illinois while working on an investigative story about helicopter security, according to an NBC spokesperson.
A producer and a cameraman from the network attempted to rent a helicopter at the Downtown St. Louis Airport in Sauget/Cahokia, Ill. They carried an assortment of potential weapons in their luggage, including a leatherman tool and a boxcutter that were purchased with a credit card at a local Wal-Mart.
The two were arrested when a rental company employee alerted authorities. After their arrest, the news crew was questioned by the FBI and released once their identities were confirmed.
An NBC spokesperson said the story was developed after helicopter security became a focus of public attention this week.
"NBC news staffers began looking at the realities of helicopter security doing things that could set off warning signs while attempting to rent a helicopter including paying for the rental in cash and having a few suspicious items in their bags," the spokesperson said. "Nothing that they did or carried was illegal."
The story aired Thursday evening on NBC Nightly News.
An NBC crew also tried to rent a helicopter in New York City. They carried a Swiss Army knife, which was taken away, but they were allowed to rent a helicopter and were given the knife back later.