Friday, January 27, 2012

TSA Week in Review: Leave Your Throwing Stars at Home, Grasshopper

Knives & throwing stars. Concealed Razorblades: Two razorblades were found concealed in the frame of a carry-on bag at Sacramento (SMF)

Leave Them at Home: A throwing star was found in a carry-on bag at Baltimore (BWI) and another found in a passenger’s bag traveling out of Lexington (LEX). Either leave these at home or pack them in your checked baggage, but be sure to check state laws before packing them, Grasshopper.

$22,373: A passenger at Jackson (JAX) turned in an abandoned bag to a TSA supervisor. The bag made its way back to its owner along with the $22,373.00 that was inside it!

West Side Story?: Four switchblades were found in carry-on baggage. One at Baltimore (BWI), two at Los Angeles (LAX) and one at LaGuardia (LGA). I wonder if they were snapping their fingers?

“Thwak – Thwak”: <-- Throwing knife sound effects: Two throwing knives were found in a carry-on bag at Denver (DEN). Throwing knives are usually in sets of three, so that leaves me wondering what the third knife is stuck in? Throwing knives were also found this week at Newark (EWR) and Lexington (LEX).

Pretzels?: A knife was found  at Burlington (BTV) concealed in a bag of… pretzels? Some cereals occasionally have a  free toy inside. Do pretzels now come with knives?

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items: In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our officers also found stun guns, brass knuckles, knives, knives, and more knives, firearm components, ammunition, and expandable batons.
8 loaded guns and ammunition.
Firearms: Our officers found 18 loaded firearms and 2 unloaded firearms in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday. Here’s a rundown of the 20 firearms our officers kept off of airplanes this week: 

1/20: AMA – Loaded .44 – ATL – Loaded .22 – FLL – Loaded .380
1/21: HRL – Loaded .38 – DAL – Loaded .45
1/22: SFB – Loaded .380 w/ round chambered – LEX – Loaded .38
1/23: TUL – Loaded .22 – ABQ – Unloaded .22 – BIL – Loaded .380 w/ round chambered – ATL – Unloaded .45 Black Powder Derringer – SLC – Loaded .380
1/24: MEM – Loaded .380 w/ round chambered – FLL – Loaded .380 – COS – Loaded .357
1/25: PDX – Loaded .25 – DFW – Loaded .45
1/26: BHM – Loaded .380 w/ round chambered – PIT – Loaded 9mm – GNV – Loaded 9mm – PIE – Loaded 9mm

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. 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.

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. This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home. 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 double check your luggage before you get to the airport.

Including checkpoint and checked baggage screening, TSA has
20 layers of security both visible and invisible to the public. Each one of these layers alone is capable of stopping a terrorist attack. In combination their security value is multiplied, creating a much stronger, formidable system. A terrorist who has to overcome multiple security layers in order to carry out an attack is more likely to be pre-empted, deterred, or to fail during the attempt.  

Blogger Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team
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