A 49-year-old Provo man is being investigated for exposing himself during a flight to Salt Lake City — but the man told police the in-flight flashing occurred after he accidentally rubbed peppermint oil on his genitals.
According to a search warrant filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court, the FBI Terrorism Task Force is investigating an incident last November when a woman on a Delta flight from Minnesota to Utah reported to her flight attendant that she saw the passenger next to her expose his penis during their flight.
The man allegedly fled the airport, leaving his luggage behind, according to the warrant. Two days later, he was interviewed by police at his Provo home, where he allegedly told them that he had put peppermint oil on his forehead to treat a headache while he was in Amsterdam, before boarding a string of flights returning him to Utah.
After applying the oil, the man went to use the bathroom.
"I obviously touched my privates," the man told police, adding that he must have had peppermint oil on his hands, because he felt his genitals burning afterward.
According to the warrant, the man told police he placed a coat over himself during the flight to keep warm and began "scratching and adjusting" his groin area because he was uncomfortable. The man admitted to police that at one point, he unbuttoned his jeans and removed his penis from his pants.
FBI agents searched through the man’s luggage — which had been kept in the Salt Lake City Airport Police’s possession — and found candy, gravy mixes, pretzels and other edibles. Also found in his luggage was two small boxes labeled "Olbas Oil," which had a scent of eucalyptus and mint, the FBI agent noted in the search warrant.
The search warrant, signed by a Utah federal judge, asks for the FBI to have possession of the two boxes labeled Olbas Oil and the luggage tag affixed to the man’s bag.
The man was charged in federal court in April with lewd, indecent or obscene behavior on an aircraft, a class C misdemeanor. A bench trial is scheduled for the man on Sept. 19.
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