TSA agent stole $50,000 of fliers' stuff

The Broward County Sheriff's office arrested TSA agent Nelson Santiago and charged him with stealing some $50,000 worth of consumer electronics. He was caught stuffing an iPad down his pants by a Continental Airlines employee, and the subsequent investigation revealed the rest of his haul. Something to think about: if bent TSA agents can take stuff out without being detected, perhaps they can put stuff in. [New Times]

30

  1. This is not new. I had about $500 of unopened holiday presents stolen by TSA agents in New York in 2002. The items were missing, and a nice little calling card was left indicating that my bag had been chosen for a random search. I had absolutely zero help from the airlines in recovering the items or damages. I was angered, and have since reckoned that damages caused by theft and unwarranted searches far outweigh the good rpovided by the TSA. This is a reckless, unruly bunch.

  2. But they’re vetted by the US government. There’s absolutely no way they could be corrupted to do harm.

  3. Nothing new, a Philadelphia TSA agent helped herself to my 95 yo. grandfather’s credit cards. She stole them from his wallet during a security screening, then charged $700+ in automotive repairs.

  4. At SFO the check-in staff asked if I had a laptop in the luggage I was checking in. I said yes. He said, “You may want to take it out and carry it on board. If you leave it in your luggage we can’t guarantee it will be there when you arrive.”

    So I did.

  5. Poorly-paid, poorly-trained, and poorly-supervised people with all-but unchallenged power are abusing it? Shocking.

    Meanwhile, I think we’ve all seen the condition of checked luggage after a few trips, and it’s not pretty. Why anyone would trust their sensitive electronics to such treatment – all worries of theft aside – is beyond me.

    1. Poorly-paid, poorly-trained, and poorly-supervised people with all-but unchallenged power are abusing it? Shocking.

      Neoliberals would have it no other way.

      1. God forbid that this gentleman who stole $50K worth of equipment despite making more than the average US wage should take personal responsibility for his actions. He’s obviously a victim of The Man.

  6. my mom checked her laptop. cause she’s a stroke victim and can’t really carry it well on her back. i’m glad no state thug dick stole it.

    1. my mom checked her laptop. cause she’s a stroke victim and can’t really carry it well on her back. i’m glad no state thug dick stole it.

      The price you pay for a good hyper capitalist system.

    2. Dude – get her one of those small rolling laptop bags. She can ask a flight attendant to help her stow and retrieve it. My laptop has my life on it – it doesn’t leave my sight.

  7. Watch how hard they object to being supervised. That tells you everything you need to know.

  8. I’ve had things stolen from my checked bags multiple times. I go carry-on only at this point.

    1. I’ve had things stolen from my checked bags multiple times. I go carry-on only at this point.

      Makes me wonder if you could redesign the internals of long haul flights. No cargo. Take out the seats and replace them with bunks. Each bunk has a spot for luggage. Total volume used would be the same, but it would be a lot more comfortable.

      1. Have you been inside a modern, pressurized, airplane? Because I do not think you understand how they work.

  9. If I’m ever obliged to check luggage, I make damned sure that nothing irreplaceable goes into it. If I have anything remotely valuable, it stays with me.

  10. I am surprised that it has taken this long to realize another potential threat to the security of aviation in America is those that make up the security apparatus. Quickly someone draft legislation to form a new administrative body to oversee the security of the TSA.

    The TSA and all employed under it should be held to higher standards, be better trained and better paid than most. That is if we are to assume their role is important and vital to the true security of those that fly. Otherwise it really doesn’t matter if they just dress up some chimps and have them point bananas at us.

  11. I think the final point here is the most telling. A system that has trouble telling when things are taken out of baggage is going to have trouble telling when bombs are put into them. In short: all the alarm and fuss about bombs being implanted into breast implants is simply security theater, and doesn’t actually prevent aircraft from being blown to bits.

    So remind me why we’re giving up our civil liberties, if it doesn’t actually solve a real problem?

    1. “So remind me why we’re giving up our civil liberties, if it doesn’t actually solve a real problem?”

      But it does! The problem is the Constitution, and freedom. Working to reverse the American Revolution one action at a time. Be sure to thank your Congressional representatives and their corporate masters, the folks who are bringing Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil” to your real life.

  12. How about arresting all the rest for stealing human dignity and personal rights? That’s worth far more than some fucking ipads.

    Mister44:
    wouldn’t it be wiser to put your life onto a memory card you can carry on your person or just leave at home when not needed? Especially since every government goon these days thinks they have a right to search your shit, copy it or keep it if they choose. I keep nothing directly on mine, except for maybe a movie or two and some music. They could steal it or set fire to it, wouldn’t hurt me much.

    1. Maybe I should have said my ‘lively hood’. All of my files and pictures are backed up. But I do all of my work on it and would be seriously set back if I lost it. Not end of the world set back – but still major suckage.

  13. My colleague had a putter stolen (custom, left-handed) at BNA. The idiot TSA agent then tried to sell it locally on ebay, my colleague bid & won the auction and to save shipping costs the agent then gave out his home address. so they could do the deal in person. Needless to say the Nashville PD showed up instead.

    Not sure what scares me more, the dishonesty or the stupidity.

  14. Sadly, the TSA screeners are poorly paid and mostly untalented, poorly educated fools. I read the job listing and was shocked that the job paid 39k/yr and this is the bay area with a pretty high cost of living.So no surprise that they have to look to make some side income.

    I really wish they have a system where a note is left each time a bag is opened and this note gives the staff number of the person who opened the bag for checking. At least this way there can be a pattern where too many complaints against “# A123” will indicate that this person is possibly being accused rightly. Heck, they put a “inspected by X” in newly manufactured pants, so why not in opened bags?

  15. Just say no… to flying that is. If you can anyway.

    Failing that, carry-on or nothing seems to be the message here. And thinking about that, maybe this is some ploy by TSA and the airlines or whoever to get people to stop checking bags. Or to just desensitize customers to having their shit stolen or destroyed.

  16. I think this has been mentioned around BB before (possibly by myself) but one way to help secure your checked baggage is to place a firearm in your bag, doing so makes it a requirement that the bag be locked (your own real lock, not some silly TSA open-able one) and they will be extra careful with your bag as it gets flagged (in one case I actually got to watch as an officer hand delivered my suitcase to the plane for loading). Even a prop or starter pistol works for this purpose, I traveled with a barrel blocked stage pistol for years which was legitimately part of the show but also had this added benefit.

  17. I just came back from China with my family. While we were there, a business associate gave my dad a box of really nice, fancy Chinese tea. When we got home it was gone from his luggage. You could still see the imprint in the clothes where the box was packed. Who the hell steals tea out of a checked bag?
    …and don’t tell me it was a customs thing, because the 3 cartons of cigarettes in my bag got through just peachy.

  18. The TSA agents can also walk past any detection devices to enter the “secure” concourses. They are allowed to enter at the exit bringing all their bags and lunch with them. Airline employees once were allowed to do that until an airplane was taken down by a disgruntled airline employee. When will a disgruntled TSA agent do the same?? HELLO!!!!

Comments are closed.