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Love and Theft’s Eric Gunderson Arrested at Nashville Airport En Route to ACM Awards

Love and Theft
Frazer Harrison, Getty Images

What started off as an exciting trip to Las Vegas for the 2012 ACM Awards quickly turned sour for country duo Love and Theft. The duo’s Eric Gunderson wound up in handcuffs at the Nashville airport on Wednesday (March 28).

Gunderson was making his way through the security check point with duo partner Stephen Barker Liles when TSA discovered a large hunting knife tucked away in his carry-on backpack. Security treated the situation like they would with any passenger traveling with a weapon and posing a threat, quickly putting the singer in handcuffs and arresting him.

Love and Theft
Courtesy of Stephen Barker Liles

“I was waiting for Eric to go through security, and he always gets stopped because he’s a diabetic … he has needles and stuff like that in his bag,” Liles tells Taste of Country. “Then, I see them pull out this huge hunting knife with like a 10″ blade. The guy looks at Eric like he was going to kill everyone on the plane. So they called the cops right away, and I was like, ‘Oh crap! Are we going to make our flight? We’re going to Vegas for our first ACM show!’ They were like, ‘Sir, your friend is under arrest.’

“Then, they take him in this room, and I went and called our manager,” Liles continues. “And 30 or 40 minutes later, he comes back and they let him go and we barely made our flight. They let him go with a misdemeanor, but if he was on probation or whatever, he would’ve gone straight to jail. He just took the wrong backpack. He hunted the weekend before, so he didn’t realize it was in there.”

After his release from police custody, Gunderson was back on track to getting to Vegas with Liles for the awards show. The duo was nominated for their very first award for Vocal Duo of the Year, though Thompson Square snagged it in an early win.

On Friday night (March 30), Love and Theft participated in the ACM Fremont Street Experience, which also featured performances from Brantley Gilbert, Hunter Hayes, Scotty McCreery and Luke Bryan.

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