How Do You Know If A TSA Agent Stole An iPad? There's An App For That

from the gimmie-that dept

While the TSA has already declared themselves this nation's official Humor Police, all while likely profiling based on race, the agency constructed to keep us safe while we fly has another problem to deal with: the thieves that wear the uniform.

ABC News recently conducted an investigation in which they packed travel bags with cash and iPads and took them through security at several major airports, while also going out of their way to leave iPads behind at security checkpoints as well. As the report notes, the bags went through without a problem and most of the iPads were returned per TSA policy. But not all of them.

In case you can't see the video, a TSA agent was taped at work handling the iPad ABC had left behind, and simply decided to take it home with him. When confronted at his home by ABC's Brian Ross, Agent Andy Ramirez denied he had the device until Ross initiated the iCloud application used to track the iPad and its audible alert. Ramirez then produced the iPad and valiantly blamed having it on his wife, who was kind enough to stand next to him and not punch him repeatedly in the testicles on camera.

It may be tempting to simply write this off as the occasional occurrence of bad actors in any sector of any industry, but theft by TSA agents is likely more widespread a problem than you realize. Nearly 400 TSA agents have been fired specifically for theft since 2003. One would expect, of course, that the number of agents fired represents a fraction of those that have actually stolen something.

And to think, they've done all of this thieving without managing to catch a single terrorist.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Ninja (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 10:23am

    And to think, they've done all of this thieving without managing to catch a single terrorist.

    That's because it's the FBI who is catching all the terrorists, duh. If it wasn't for TSA we'd have planes crashing on buildings everyday due to the terrorists (!!!).
    Pirate Mike and his syncophants and the usual terrorism apology. You can't just stop bashing good honest law enforcement officials because all you care about is to freeload on others hard work, right Mike?

    /troll

    Checklist:
    - Ad hom [check]
    - Miss the point [check]
    - Ignore that Mike hasn't written the article [check]
    - Completely ignore facts/live in denial [check]
    - Contradictory statements [check]
    - Mix completely irrelevant or unrelated subject [check]

    I didn't use the troll word of the month because I honestly don't know which is it. So I used an old one (syncophants).

    Cheers ;)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 10:46am

    they should consider themselves lucky that none of the TSA agents have stolen a fake ipad loaded with explosives. that would certainly have been difficult to explain away, especially if it had gone off!!

     

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    Mike Raffety (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 10:50am

    Maybe the TSA agents are stealing the terrorists' boxcutters and explosive shoes.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 10:57am

    Oh god...the fact the TSA agent tried to blame it on his wife and then fell silent...beautiful.
    Here's a free lesson, TSA agent, in case you're reading this. Learn how to think quickly on your feet and come up with a better story. How is it possible for an iPad to go through your security checkpoint and then for it to end up in your wife's hands, if not through you? She's not TSA (at least, the video doesn't mention that).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 10:58am

    Maybe it's not really about catching terrorists after all. Maybe it's about lining minimum wage earners pockets? Just sayin'

     

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      Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 11:11am

      Re:

      Gasp! These are highly trained professionals who represent the most upstanding citizens who put their unrivaled skills to sort the terrorists from the unwitting, fearful public.

      /sarc

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 11:01am

    and valiantly blamed having it on his wife, who was kind enough to stand next to him and not punch him repeatedly in the testicles on camera.

    She's a better person than I am.

     

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    Indy, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 11:02am

    "not punch him repeatedly in the testicles on camera. "


    or:

    How I know to stop reading and look at the author of the article to see if Tim is writing instead of Mike.

     

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    gab4moi (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 11:13am

    I suspect that they have detained several terrorists who are now at their homes carrying out enforced domestic duties... and I blame the wives...

     

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    cm, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 11:21am

    nice example of a bare faced lie

    It's always good to have high resolution footage of a guy just plain lying to another person about an illegal act he committed. We rarely get that chance to see a lie in its natural habitat like that and so perfectly captured.

    This is good raw data for Lie Scientists to analyze.

     

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    Violated (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 11:21am

    He will so be fired.

    Still this comes awfully close to entrapment. It is rather naive of people to think they can leave shiny glittery golden much desired objects laying about and that everyone would be honest enough to return them. Sure it is nice to see honesty from your fellow citizens but in such hard economic times objects of value can prove extra temping to some.

    Well all TSA agents know the risk and those who steal get fired as he will now be. Then his wife will sure get some revenge even if that is for him losing is job.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 11:35am

      Re:

      It's entrapment if the police do it, depending on the circumstances. When ABC does it, it sure is nasty(!), but it's reporting. They're interested in the message, not an individual prosecution.

      Naive, it's not. ABC expected possibly to lose some ipads, that was the point. They have has a budget for it. Lost ipads would just be the cost of doing business.

      If you try this trick by yourself, without a really big camera, you could run into trouble. If you do it and then get mad instead of the professionalism of ABC, that is naive.

      And finally, we all have the right to live without theft. We can protect ourselves but expect the best from our fellow man. That's the way to operate with 95% of passengers and 95% of TSA employees. You can feel it correctly most of the time, sometimes you get fooled..

       

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        Ninja (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 12:08pm

        Re: Re:

        Agreed. This should NOT happen specially from professionals that are supposed to keep you safe.

        If anything, this experiment helps highlight yet another problem with the TSA.

        It is interesting though, here in Brazil there have been cases of theft directly from the bags or disappearance of bags (either involving Federal Police officers or air company employees) and it's something you don't see in this specific experiment.

         

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      BentFranklin (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 11:38am

      Re:

      Still this comes awfully close to entrapment.

      If this is entrapment, what is the FBI doing in their sting operations?

      Sure it is nice to see honesty from your fellow citizens but in such hard economic times objects of value can prove extra temping to some.

      When you are in law enforcement you have a much higher standard of duty to live up to.

       

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      DCX2, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 12:05pm

      Re:

      I think you could brush up on what entrapment is. Here's a pretty nice comic.

      http://thecriminallawyer.tumblr.com/post/19810672629/12-i-was-entrapped

      Essentially, 1) if the police cause you to commit a crime AND 2) you wouldn't have committed the crime without their incitement, THEN 3) you were entrapped.

      See example 5. Giving someone the opportunity to commit a crime is not entrapment. Entrapment only applies if you are overcoming someone's resistance to committing a crime. A TSA agent who just steals an unattended iPad had no resistance to committing theft in the first place.

      And, of course, ABC is not an agent of the police.

       

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    weneedhelp (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 11:43am

    Only if they are caught.

    One would expect, of course, that the number of agents fired represents a fraction of those that have actually stolen something.

    One would expect, of course, that the number of agents fired represents a fraction of those that have actually been caught stealing.

    FTFY

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 11:52am

    They
    Strike
    Again

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 11:56am

    TSA may yet fulfill a role of identifying criminals - not from among those they screen, but from among those they hire to do the screening.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 11:58am

    A question I keep thiking, is when you steal an I-Pad, I-phone, laptop.etc. Are you also guilty of stealing coprighted material on the device?

     

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    Soma (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 12:05pm

    What is bothersome as well is the lack of recourse for the victims of theft at the hands of the TSA. I'm speaking, unfortunately, as one numbered among those. Because I didn't have a big camera following my luggage, I was stuck on the proverbial 800-line-to-nowhere. I'd argue for more oversight, but I fear that would only expand the ever-growing bureaucracy.

     

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      ltlw0lf (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      Because I didn't have a big camera following my luggage, I was stuck on the proverbial 800-line-to-nowhere.

      TSA was nice enough to put a digital camera that didn't belong there into my luggage when I came from Japan back home. I called their 800-line-to-nowhere, and was told that San Fransisco (SFO) was not run by the TSA, but was a contractor, so I needed to call them. I filed reports with both TSA and with the contractor...and have waited almost a year and have heard nothing. All I wanted to do was send the camera back to them so they can return it to its rightful owner, but getting them to give me an address to send it to has been impossible. So it's sat, waiting for them to tell me what to do with it.

      I'd argue for more oversight, but I fear that would only expand the ever-growing bureaucracy.

      This is what pissed me off the most about the TSA in the incident above. They told me that the camera could have been introduced to my bag at any time, and likely found its way into my bag in Japan. I laughed because I know that this wasn't true! When I went through security in Japan, they asked me to follow them to a table, while they opened my luggage (there was something in there they were worried about,) and went through it with me present. Convinced that there was nothing wrong, they placed everything back and then sealed the luggage with a zip-tie. At no time did I see the camera, and I confirmed that when they put everything back, nothing was introduced to the luggage.

      When I got home, I opened my bag (which no longer had the zip-tie,) and found a "TSA We Opened Your Bag" note, along with the new camera (and everything else in my luggage.)

      TSA says they have to search in private because there are too many articles going through the system, and then they blame the Japanese for introducing an item to my luggage when the Japanese search the luggage in open, with the person who brought the luggage present during the search. Which system is open to theft? Let me guess.

      I wish they would change their procedures and make the system open and transparent like the Japanese (and the Germans, and probably everywhere else in the world,) but I suspect they want the system to work the way it is working.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Blame Apple

    If they didn't make the ipad no one would steal it!

     

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    DannyB (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 12:19pm

    Are you sure that's not a typo?

    > Nearly 400 TSA agents have been fired specifically for theft since 2003.


    I think you typed the letter F when you meant to type H?

    Nearly 400 TSA agents have been hired specifically for theft since 2003.

     

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    Mesonoxian Eve (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 12:23pm

    Young man, there's a place you can go
    I said young man, when you're standing in a row
    You can stay there and I'm sure you will find
    Many ways to see agents who aren't blind

    It's not fun to ask Y.T.S.A?
    It's not fun to ask Y.T.S.A?
    They have everything for young men to enjoy
    From cash to ipads and even a kid's toy



    I'm sure the Village People can sing it better than I can.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    My buddy aplied to the TSA years ago, he was rejected after a credit check. They figure if you are in debt you will do something like this. But if you are already stealing to pay off your bills, your credit will be fine.

     

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    cm, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 12:34pm

    so did he get arrested?

    I forgot to ask: did the guy who took the iPad also get arrested for theft in addition to losing his TSA job?

    Because, obviously, he should!

     

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    EXrider, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 12:53pm

    FTTSA

    I had an 80GB iPod placed inside of a Sonic Impact speaker/display unit stolen from my checked luggage by the TSA in either CVG, ATL or MIA. This was the first and last time I was ever lazy enough to place valuables inside of checked luggage. After filling out numerous forms, faxing, re-faxing and calling to follow up multiple times, Delta pretty much told me to fuck off after wasting my time, I wish they'd told me up front not to even bother trying to seek reimbursement.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 2:01pm

      Re: FTTSA

      Call the police, not Delta.

       

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        ltlw0lf (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 4:13pm

        Re: Re: FTTSA

        Call the police, not Delta.

        It is doubtful the police could do anything beyond writing a report (and they are often so busy that it may take a while to get a police officer to show up and take the report.) However, at least that way you could get insurance to pay for the replacement (though doubtful since an ipod is likely under the deductible.)

        Unfortunately, the only place that will be of much effect is Delta, who may just pay you for the ipod just to keep you from making a big deal of it (then again, Delta isn't well known for their customer support anyway.)

         

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    Duke (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 2:06pm

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know how many of those 381 TSA people fired for stealing have since been prosecuted (or even arrested/investigated) in connection with the (alleged) thefts?

    Or is crime not crime when it's done by law enforcement minions?

     

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    jeneaston (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 3:09pm

    What's next ABC, leaving iPads at the bus station?

    Trust me I'm no fan of the TSA (when I travel I always keep my electronics close by).

    And I appreciate ABC bringing attention to this, but I can't shake wondering what percentage of workers would return a "lost" iPad in other industries.

    Bus/train stations?
    Car rental?
    Schools?
    Restaurants?

    I think this speaks more about our culture than it does about the TSA. They left an expensive electronic device in a busy location. Personally if I left my iPad in a busy location I would be surprised if I got it back.

     

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    Darkpriest667 (profile), Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 3:40pm

    Stealing an ipad?

    Who,in their right mind, would steal an apple product? Of course this is the TSA, I'm inclined to believe most of their employees are not in their right minds.


    There is a solution to this problem. The same solution for a lot of industries. Fire 70% of them raise their wage to a professional level of wages and have a more stringent hiring process. But thats an actual solution. This is not something that the media has ever offered. I mean real solutions not these talking point solutions.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 4:00pm

    "zero tolerance for getting caught stealing"

    key word "caught"

     

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    Bill Fisher, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 4:20pm

    TSA Theft

    So did any of the folks who were robbed of this $800,000 total get reimbursed by him or TSA? I doubt it. TSA likely denied responsibility for the thefts and they victims were out of luck after being robbed by their own government.

    Everyone who flies regularly has had something stolen from a checked or carry bag. I have had belongings stolen six times, twice at the checkpoint and four from checked bags. Whenever something was stolen from checked luggage there was a TSA inspection slip inside as if they were bragging that they robbed and defying me to stop them. I filed six claims and all six were denied. The airlines refused payment saying that TSA had control of the bags.

    I traveled just as much for fifteen years prior to TSAís creation and never had anything taken. They donít do proper background checks and donít care.

    Last week a TSA screener at Ft. Lauderdale airport, Andrew Smeal, was arrested for child pornography. He had been hired by TSA a month earlier even though he was under investigation by the FBI.

    Much of the media has been pandering to TSA, repeating their propaganda and excusing the agency despite repeated incidents of smuggling drugs and guns, nearly a hundred criminal arrests and exposing over a dozen pedophile TSA screeners. The media that ignores these failures are promotes TSA propaganda is slowing reform of this failed agency and making air travel less secure.

    TSA has become a jobs program for misfits who can't get hired anywhere else and crime is rampant within the agency. Does anyone really feel safer having people who will rub strangerís genitals in public every day for $15 an hour and stealing from passengers in charge of security?

    TSA costs taxpayers $8 billion a year and we canít afford to pay public employees to commit crimes and endanger air travel.

     

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    Pixelation, Oct 2nd, 2012 @ 6:45pm

    I'm wondering if he has a bunch of copies of naked scans on that ipad...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 6:11am

    He should be FIRED!

     

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    hmm (profile), Oct 3rd, 2012 @ 9:53am

    Well

    Oh god you freeloading pirates make me sick...firstly you want free music (just because someone wrote it several hundred years ago and isn't likely to make more / because the original author WANTED it to be public domain)..

    And now (FOR FREE I might add) you want your own stuff that you bought and paid for, and you want (again for free) the ability to not have to worry about TSA people stealing anything they can pawn for crack....

    Whats next? You'll be wanting FREEdom of speech or something.....

    Jeez....[insert frothing at the mouth / freetard comment here]

    /sarc

     

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    Anonymous, Oct 4th, 2012 @ 4:22pm

    When it comes to Missouri's highway patrol, you don't need an app to know that they are thieves and which trooper stole a gun (hint: his name is Brad Odle).

     

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    G. Cooper, Nov 29th, 2012 @ 5:50pm

    Tsa stored my iPod, 64G, touch $400.00

    I was told at airport I flew into by a TSA agent to make a claim that they can view the video and that was how they were catching their agents stealing. Made all kinds if police report (MEM) per Apple's instruction, CLAIM DENIED, THEY NEVER LOOKED AT THE VIDEO. Instructed me to take it to US District Court. Like I have another $400.00 to lose!!! Asked for a re-review and said they would assign my case to another agent.
    I need the address of Director of TSA so I can write to.
    After all, we pay there salaries.

     

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    May, Jan 25th, 2013 @ 2:17pm

    Common Sense

    It's just common sense to not leave valuables in your checked luggage. Yeah, it's horrible that the TSA can't be trusted to not steal you stuff, but if something is really valuable to you, you keep it in your carry-on. Even if it wasn't the TSA, it would probably just be someone else since you're not allowed to put a lock on your checked luggage. It's a shame, but that's how society is. It's difficult to get by and people are desperate.

     

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    iMan9796, Sep 12th, 2013 @ 11:27am

    This same disgusting thievery is commonplace at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC when it comes to lost & found property. The pubic must be aware of the crimes that are being committed against them when their lost property is stolen from the PABT's Lost & Found Dept. by Port Authority Bus Terminal Supervisors. Google ďDonna Lebourne abc news." & watch the video, or click on the link below.

    http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=9105280

    If you lost an item at the PABT & it was returned to you, put in a theft report with the PAPD to get your lost item replaced because most likely your item was stolen by PABT management.

    It would be nice to see the Port Authority aggressively go after the criminals and their enablers that they employ who engage in these same disgraceful crimes and even worse criminal acts, i.e. the unconscionable and highly illegally procedure of throwing lost passports found at the PABT in the garbage in this age of global terrorism and rampant identity theft. Google ďfound, stolen, trashed by PA.Ē See the link below.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/found_stolen_trashed_by_pa_V4RMICgPyy2bhAVzDkW9EL

    No one should be above the law no matter who they work for.

     

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