Convicted TSA Agent: Stealing From Passenger Bags Is “Very” Common

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September 30, 2012

Pythias Brown said many of the stolen items are taken out of carry-on bags that pass through TSA screenings while their owners make their way through security checkpoints and metal detectors.

September 30, 2012

Pythias Brown said many of the stolen items are taken out of carry-on bags that pass through TSA screenings while their owners make their way through security checkpoints and metal detectors.

Former TSA screener Pythias Brown, who was fired for preying on airline passengers luggage and stealing along with many other TSA employees.

A former Transportation Security Administration agent who spent three years in jail for stealing from passenger luggage told ABC News that the practice “was very commonplace.” Pythias Brown, who worked at Newark International Airport, said he stole more than $800,000 worth of goods from luggage and security checkpoints.

He was finally caught when he tried to sell a stolen CNN camera on eBay but forgot to take off all the stickers that tied the camera to the news network.

"It became so easy, I got complacent," Brown said.

Almost 400 TSA officers have been fired for stealing from passengers over the past decade.

Brown says he was never asked about suspicious behavior, including a time when he walked out of a security checkpoint with a Nintendo Wii in his hands.

Now he says he wants passengers to be aware of the risk when they fly. And don’t think those fancy TSA locks will be of much help. Brown insists TSA employees have long figured out how to pick them without being detected.

But Brown says the fired TSA officers might be the tip of the iceberg.

Theft “was very commonplace. Very,” he said.

Lax oversight only adds to the problem.

“They [TSA managers] never searched our bags, they never searched us. Nothing.”

He said most of the valuable items are taken out of carry-on bags that pass through screenings and X-ray machines while their owners make their way through security checkpoints and metal detectors.

Two former TSA agents at New York's Kennedy Airport, Persad Coumar, 44, and Davon Webb, 31, were sentenced to six months in jail this year for blatantly making off with a bag full of cash.

Persad was working an airport X-ray machine when he spotted the $40,000, which belonged to a drug mule.

A TSA officer, left, operates an X-ray machine at a security checkpoint at the Salt Lake City International Airport.

Critics of the TSA say the alleged culture of theft comes as little surprise.

"TSA is probably the worst personnel manager that we have in the entire federal government," Rep. John Mica, a Florida Republican and chairman of the House Transportation Committee, told ABC.

"It is an outrage to the public and, actually, to our aviation security system.”

Brown, who was convicted in 2009 and just released from prison, said he’s coming forward to help make up for his crimes.

“I want to give back. To help … help people understand you have to be very careful when you have your items in your bag.”


Courtesy: NYDaily

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