ABC News: TSA Security Caught Stealing From The Passengers They Are Paid To Protect!

Airport Security09-28-2012 That’s what ABC’s Brian Ross found out first hand when a TSA officer was caught stealing an iPad belonging to his investigative team.  When a new report came out saying 381 TSA officers have been fired for stealing from passengers and their luggage, Brian Ross and his investigative team went to find out. On ABC’s Good Morning America his report told how his team went to 10 major airports that had a history of TSA theft problems. They checked in luggage all containing cash and iPads valued at $600. And at the airports security screening checkpoints they purposely “forgot” and left behind iPads. What did they find out?

Well, this time all the luggage made it past the TSA safely, with no cash or iPads missing.  In 9 out of the 10 carry-on screening checkpoints, the TSA officers did their job properly and alerted the team of the left behind “forgotten” item.

However in Orlando, it was another story. Their left behind iPad was not recovered but was last seen in the hands of TSA officer Andy Ramirez.  They filed a missing property report but was told nothing was found and that they were essentially “out of luck.”  Using software, they were able to track the device 30 miles away at the home of that TSA officer that very night!

They gave him two weeks and then gave him a visit! Brian Ross told him they were looking for a missing iPad and of course the officer denied knowing anything about it.  When Brian Ross set off the audible alarm on the missing iPad,  Officer Ramirez suddenly found it! When asked how the iPad had ended up in his house, Mr. Ramirez said he was so embarrassed, but that his wife had taken it. Brian Ross then told him that the iPad was last seen in his hands and that finally shut Andy up!

Brian Ross reported that some members of Congress think that these latest theft figures may be just the tip of the iceberg.  Passengers who are victims of TSA theft find that they are on their own when something goes missing.

The TSA, Transportation Security Administration, the government organization that is there to help protect the nation’s transportation systems, did notify Brian Ross that Andy Ramirez was no longer employed by the agency and that they have a zero-tolerance policy for employees caught stealing from passengers.

But in Brian’s continuing report on ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer, thousands of viewers contacted ABC News and reported how they became victims of the TSA when their items such as laptops, cell phones, Kindles, and IPads were stolen at checkpoints, from luggage, carry on bags, security bins when items are going through the scanners. One victim said he bent down to tie his shoes at a checkpoint and when he turned around,  his cell phone was missing.  Some passengers managed to use tracking software and found their stolen items at the homes some TSA officers, but most do not recover their items because of lack of cooperation from the TSA.  They expressed feeling that no one seems to care and are disturbed by the TSA’s complete apathy toward passenger theft.  Some feel that it’s less the value of the item and more about feeling violated.

One convicted former TSA officer, Pythias Brown, talked with Brian Ross and said there is a culture of indifference towards theft. It seems that in the environment of low morale, together with the low pay scale, they found they could profit from theft and the practice became widespread.

Brian says that the Chairman of the House Chief Transportation Committee, John L. Mica of Florida,  is calling for a total reform and sweeping changes in the management of the TSA. The Inspector General of Homeland Security said that this case is being referred to authorities for criminal prosecution.

Brian says his report is just the latest in a series of miscues, invasions of privacy, and just recently the TSA’s failure to spot a loaded pistol in a woman’s purse. The weapon got past an Orlando checkpoint and made it through to Newark where the woman realized what had happened and reported it to the authorities.

Travelers, beware!

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