TSA Officer Pegged for iPad Theft
Written by Faith Anderson on September 27, 2012
Theft of Passenger Belongings Widespread TSA Problem
The apparent theft by Ramirez is only the latest in what have been hundreds of thefts of passenger belongings by TSA officers, resulting in 381 terminations of TSA officers between 2003 and 2012. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Rep. John Mica, R.-Florida, chair of the House of Transportation Committee. “It is an outrage to the public, and actually to our aviation system.” In the ABC News investigation, TSA officers at nine of the ten airport security checkpoints followed protocol and immediately contacted the owner of the device, whose name and phone number were prominently displayed on the iPad case. Luggage containing cash and iPads that was checked at the same airports also went through security undisturbed. In Orlando, however, the iPad was not immediately returned, and the airport lost and found said there was no record of an iPad being turned in on the day in question.
TSA Officer Fired Over iPad Theft
When the ABC News team approached Ramirez at his home, he denied knowing anything about the missing iPad and actually blamed his wife, saying she had found it and brought it home from the airport. Unfortunately for him, ABC had videotaped Ramirez handling the iPad at the airport, so his story didn’t exactly add up. To add insult to injury, the news team activated the iPad’s audio alarm feature, which obviously went off inside Ramirez’s home, at which point he removed his TSA uniform shirt and handed over the stolen device. TSA representatives have since reported that Ramirez is no longer employed by the agency as of Wednesday afternoon, given its “zero-tolerance policy for theft,” resulting in the termination of “any employee who is determined to have stolen from a passenger.” Despite the issue with Ramirez, TSA disputes that theft is a widespread problem, saying that the number of officers terminated by the agency “represents less than one-half of one percent of officers that have been employed” by TSA.