Tim Foolery

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TSA Agent with $800K in Stolen Goods

Last week I wrote briefly about a TSA Agent who was caught with an iPad he stole from a Security Checkpoint in his house. He said is wife (not a TSA agent) stole this item. Quite the gentlemen.

Well another news story popped up this week regarding the TSA and theft.  This time from a former TSA employee who was convicted of theft. He admits he stole more than $800,000 worth of items. He only got caught because he got complacent and failed to remove tracking stickers from a camera stolen from a CNN producer’s bag.

You can see the full story here.

I have been lucky and haven’t had anything stolen while traveling. I am sure that most travelers haven’t had items stolen from TSA and most won’t. But before you head through the nude-o-scope, shoeless, beltless with hundreds or even thousands of dollars of gear out of your site take a few of these steps below to protect yourself:

  • Put your cash/wallet/cellphone in a zipped pocket on your carry-on. This way quick little hands (be they of TSA or other travelers) can’t snag your cash or other items.
  • When putting my stuff through the x-ray machine, I always “sandwich” my laptop or other high value items between my other items.  I put my shoes through first, then my brief case followed by my bin with electronics and finally followed by my 22″ Roller Suitcase. This way by the time I push my big suitcase through, all of my other items are already in the X-Ray. I can quickly pop through and almost always beat my shoes through the X-Ray. The chance of someone with sticky fingers walking away with my stuff is much lessened.
  • Never travel with cash or high value items (electronics, jewelry, etc) in your checked luggage. There are so many opportunities for your items to be “lost” or stolen after you leave your case at bag drop.
Now I am not saying all employees are thieves.  There are a handful of bad apples who give the airlines and the agencies a bad name.  You need to watch out for yourself – you can’t guarantee someone else will.
Have you ever “lost” anything from the TSA?  If so, did you ever get it back?  Do you have any other tips on how to keep your items safe when going through the security gauntlet?

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