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Cincinnati Individual Sentenced for Brandishing a Weapon on a Frontier Airlines Flight

On March 14, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia sentenced William Liebisch to 30 months of incarceration, 3 years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. In December 2023, Liebisch pleaded guilty to interfering with a flight crew.

The investigation revealed that, on November 11, 2022, Liebisch arrived at the Cincinnati airport with a ticket for Frontier Airlines Flight 1761, which was traveling from Cincinnati to Tampa. Liebisch entered the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoint where TSA officers confiscated a box cutter from Liebisch’s possession. Mistakenly believing they had disabled it by removing the blade, the TSA officers returned the box cutter to Liebisch. Once the flight departed, Liebisch inserted a spare blade that was stored in the handle of the box cutter while in view of other passengers. Liebisch stated the intention to stab someone to other passengers. The passengers immediately alerted the flight crew, and the plane was diverted to Atlanta, Georgia. As the final remaining passengers neared the exit to deplane, Liebisch charged toward a flight attendant while wielding the box cutter. A passenger then tackled Liebisch from behind as Atlanta Police Department officers rushed on the plane to subdue and arrest Liebisch.

DOT-OIG conducted this investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.