Ex-TSA agent: We steal from travelers all the time

Discussion in 'Travel Security' started by sobore, Oct 1, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://rt.com/usa/news/tsa-stealing-from-travelers-358/

    A TSA agent convicted of stealing more than $800,000 worth of goods from travelers said this type of theft is “commonplace” among airport security. Almost 400 TSA officers have been fired for stealing from passengers since 2003.

    Pythias Brown, a former Transportation Security Administration officer at Newark Liberty International Airport, spent four years stealing everything he could from luggage and security checkpoints, including clothing, laptops, cameras, Nintendo Wiis, video games and cash.

    Speaking publicly for the first time after being released after three years in prison, Brown told ABC News that he used the X-ray scanners to locate the most valuable items to snatch.

    “I could tell whether it was cameras or laptops or portable cameras or whatever kind of electronic was in the bag,” he said.

    Brown often worked alone, screening luggage behind the ticket counters. He was frequently told the overhead surveillance cameras, installed to prevent theft, were not working.
    “It was so easy,” he said. “I walked right out of the checkpoint with a Nintendo Wii in my hand. Nobody said a word.”

    With more electronics than any one individual could need, Brown began to sell the stolen items on eBay. At the time of his arrest, he was selling 80 cameras, video games and computers online. Brown said the theft was comparable to an addiction.

    “It was like being on drugs,” he said. “I was like, ‘What am I doing?’ but the next day I was right back at it.”

    Read More: http://rt.com/usa/news/tsa-stealing-from-travelers-358/
     
  2. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Not surprised one bit.
     
  3. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    Yet another reason not to check a bag. Pay $25 for the privilege of having your bag delivered to you with items missing.
     
  4. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Troubling thing is that many of the thefts happen at the checkpoints, involving carry-on bags.
     
  5. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    That doesn't seem plausible. I mean, I know if you're dumb enough to walk through the machines before your stuff gets into the scanner, or leave something behind at the checkpoint accidentally, then you might lose something (like the passenger who stole the expensive watch of an older Florida lady last year), but I'd think there'd be too many eyes in that area to get away with that kind of riffraff. Although, I suppose anything is possible.
     
  6. Maluku_Flyer
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    Maluku_Flyer Silver Member

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    In Miami 2 weeks ago. Went through the scanner, but then the tray with my wallet, watch and assorted other stuff had to go through again for some reason. I stepped back to a point where I could keep the tray within eyesight and promptly got chased away from there: "what are you doing here, sir?" Kept my mouth shut but the eyes still glued to the tray.
     
  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    A teachable moment. Never ever put these valuable yet small items separately into the bin. Always pack them into the carry-on bag, preferably early enough that none in line or working the checkpoint sees where you shove what.
     
  8. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    And they wonder why I get upset when I opt out and they take me out of "line of sight" of my belongings:mad:
    This actually happened when I was the ONLY one going through and the five TSA agents were too busy talking and laughing with each other to come immediately to do the pat down.
     
  9. pyndasky

    pyndasky Silver Member

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    I guess from now on, if I have to pack my valuables, I'll just wrap them in my dirty underwear....
     
  10. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Read the article, it mentions the frequency of checkpoint thefts.

    With the scanners being used as primary all over the place, it's very easy to separate passenger from her/his stuff. The screeners know it, and have eight hours a day to perfect their craft.
     
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  11. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    I read it. I just can't fathom how it's possible, unless the supervisors are in on it as well, because with all the cameras around, if someone complained to TSA about their items missing, I'd like to believe they could watch video to see what happened. If there are security/video gaps that are known by the TSA "officers", then we've got a real serious issue. I mean, I knew those people weren't all that trustworthy, but that's a lot worse than I had imagined.
     
  12. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    It is a violation of TSA rules for you to allow your belongings out of your sight. Also, they are not police and have no authority to use physical force to prevent you from following the rules.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
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  13. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Like the article said, they know when and which cameras don't work. Never underestimate a determined thief, whether he or she wears a TSA uniform or not.
     
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  14. Maluku_Flyer
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    Maluku_Flyer Silver Member

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    Good point. I'll try that. Then panic when I don't see the wallet in the tray. ;-)
     
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  15. secretsea18
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    secretsea18 Gold Member

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    My Sony reader became almost of of the theft statistics a couple years ago at EWR terminal C at the checkpoint at Christmastime .
    I went through the checkpoint with my backpack and roller. I had removed my laptops rom the backpack but left everything else inside including my reader. The TSA guy says he needs to rescan my backpack and takes it around fir a second pass through the xray belt. I pick up the backpack and exit the checkpoint.
    After arriving at the then-Presidents Club. I rearrange my items into my bags. At that point I have my laptop but can't seem to find my reader. I figure that I had forgotten to pack it at home and that it must still be at home. I was rather disappointed as I had a long flight with otherwise no reading material. Just before I head to the gate I go to the checkpoint just in case I had somehow left it there although I knew I did not take it out.
    Amazingly, when I approach the TSA agent, I asked if a black Sony Reader was found about an hour earlier. He asks what it looks like?! Then he opens a drawer in a podium and … THERE it is!!!! He asked me if my name was on it. I simply told him what book I was reading and voila… my reader opens to that exact book. Reluctantly he hands it over to me.
    I seems that when my backpack was taken back for its second ride on the belt, they opened it up and removed the reader without telling me Don't know if it was even put in a bin on the belt or not.
     
  16. bonnerbl
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    bonnerbl Gold Member

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    This is contrary to their own policy that the passenger must have their belongings in their line of sight. I have had them try to tell me to move several times and I -ALWAYS- say, "no. I can only see my items from here. Your policy says I have the right to keep items in my sight." and I refuse to move.
     
  17. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Unfortunately this doesn't work when they have u behind a barricade that is just out of line of sight and there really isn't anyplace else to go until they open the gate:mad:
     
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