Friday, November 4, 2011

TSA Week In Review: Do Not Let Your Grandson Pack Your Bags

The Gift of Grenade (BHM)
Grandma's Grenade (SLC)
An inert grenade was found in a passenger’s bag at Salt Lake City (SLC). It turns out that the passenger’s grandson had packed her bag. I’m sure you can imagine grandma’s surprise! Moral of the story: Do not let your grandson pack your bags! Another inert grenade was detected at Birmingham (BHM) and in this case, it was a gift for the passenger’s father. Read here and here why even inert grenades at the airport are a problem.

Stun Gun
Stun Gun (CRW)
 A stun gun resembling a smart phone  was discovered at Charleston (CRW). 

A passenger traveling through LaGuardia (LGA) reported his wallet missing to a TSA Supervisor. After searching around the checkpoint and double checking his bags, the wallet containing approximately $1,000.00 and 5 credit cards did not turn up. But wait! A call came in from the Airport Police Department... After reviewing the camera footage, it was determined that the passenger dropped his wallet and another passenger picked it up and kept it. Airport police met the culprit at the gate and placed him under arrest returning the wallet to its rightful owner.

Notable News This Week: Senator Lieberman took to Twitter to defend TSA! Also, take a look at Lisa’s post from earlier this week about some interesting items we found on Halloween. Some people have been really vocal as to how they believe TSA should profile. Well… while this wasn’t aviation related, I don’t think these gentleman would fit any of the suggested profiles we’ve been given as the type of person we need to look out for. 

Stun guns, firearm components, ammunition, an asp, brass knuckles, a switchblade, butterfly knives, a belt buckle knife, a brass knuckle belt buckle, a 4” belt buckle knife, and other knives with blades up to 6 ½” were among some of the dangerous items found around the nation by our officers in passenger’s carry-on bags this past week. 

Unfortunately these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent which is why we talk about these finds. Sure, it’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. On the other hand, there are artfully concealed items. 

Artfully Concealed Items: Artfully concealed means that the item was intentionally concealed with the intention of sneaking it through security:
Knife Found In Bag Handle (EWR)
  • Something didn’t look right about a bag that was screened at Milwaukee (MKE). After rescreening a jar of peanut butter in the bag, it was determined that there was a mass in the center of the jar. The mass turned out to be a lighter, glass pipe, and marijuana. We’re not looking for drugs, but you can probably imagine how this might look dangerous to us and why we took a closer look.
  • A passenger at Santa Barbara (SBA) alarmed the walk through metal detector and an anomaly was detected in her groin area during a pat-down. The passenger eventually admitted she had a tube of toothpaste concealed in her groin area. While we’re not looking for toothpaste, it was concealed in an area where explosives can be hidden and we had no idea what it was until we resolved the alarm. We should have known what it was though, right? Isn’t that where all the cool kids are keeping their toothpaste nowadays?
  • As I stated last week, contrary to popular belief, the lining of a bag is not X-ray proof. A passenger at Milwaukee (MKE) had their knife concealed under the bag lining. We found it.  
  • “I always keep them in my shoes” is what a passenger at Philadelphia (PHL) stated after two razorblades were found under the insole of his shoes.  
  • A knife was found concealed in the handle of a bag at Newark (EWR). I guess you could say our officers “handled” it. 
Our officers found 12 loaded firearms in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday. (Not counting the unloaded and replica ones we found). Here’s a rundown of the loaded weapons we kept off of airplanes this week:
  • 10-28: TSA Officer at SAT detects a loaded .40 pistol.
  • 10-28: TSA Officer at ATL detects a loaded 9mm pistol.
  • 10-28: TSA Officer at IAH detects a loaded 9mm pistol.
  • 10-29: TSA Officer at ICT detects a loaded .25 pistol.
  • 10-30: TSA Officer at RNO detects a loaded 9mm pistol with a round in the chamber.
  • 10-31: TSA Officer at MSY detects a loaded .380 pistol with a round in the chamber.
  • 11-1: TSA Officer at BNA detects a loaded .380 pistol.
  • 11-1: TSA Officer at CVG detects a loaded .380 pistol.
  • 11-1: TSA Officer at DFW detects a loaded pistol of unknown caliber with a round in the chamber.
  • 11-1: TSA Officer at BDL detects a loaded .38 pistol.
  • 11-2: TSA Officer at JAN detects a loaded .25 pistol.
  • 11-3: TSA Officer at PHX detects a loaded .32 pistol.
You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline. You can go here for more details on how to properly travel with your firearms. 
    Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions, that's for the law enforcement officer to decide. In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items in their bag. That’s why it’s important to check your bags before you leave.

    We also look for explosives and bomb components as well, but thankfully those are extremely rare and we're happy to keep it that way.

    TSA Blog Team

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