Friday, June 8, 2012

TSA Week in Review – Inert Detonator Discovered in Checked Bag

An inert detonator was discovered in a checked bag at Harrisburg (MDT).
Inert Detonator Discovered in Checked Bag – An inert detonator was discovered in a checked bag at Harrisburg (MDT). The individual had been at a conference where the items were given out as souvenirs. We’re all too familiar with instructors and other people in this type of business needing these types of items for their jobs, but as with all inert training items and replica’s, we don’t know they’re not real until we’ve gone through all the motions. These motions can include evacuated baggage areas and closed checkpoints which lead to delays and missed flights. People that need to travel with INERT items should plan ahead and contact their preferred shipper about mailing the training aids to their destination.

Distraction grenades, knives, loaded guns.
Co2 Distraction Grenades – These are used in Airsoft war games, and when they detonate, they make a very loud explosive sound that’s designed to distract the enemy. There are some problems when flying with these. To begin with, they look like grenades, which can cause some concern and delay. Also, compressed gas cylinders are prohibited by the FAA from air travel and I doubt passengers would appreciate a very loud explosive sound in the cabin if it happened to detonate.

These swords were discovered at Salt Lake City (SLC).
Swords Discovered In Guitar Case – I’ve heard of keeping your “axe” in a guitar case, but not your swords. These swords were discovered at Salt Lake City (SLC). The passenger didn’t know that swords were prohibited in carry-on bags.

Blades in the Strangest Places - It’s one thing to forget you had a knife or other bladed object in your bag, but when you intentionally try to sneak it past us, you could wind up being cited or even arrested by law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where passengers tried to sneak them past our Officers.
A multi-tool knife was discovered concealed in the bottom of a thermos at Phoenix (PHX). The passenger admitted putting it there in an attempt to get it through.
A multi-tool knife was discovered bound to the inner workings of the pull handle of a bag with rubber bands at Salt Lake City (SLC).
A knife was found taped to the support inside the lining of a carry-on bag at Dulles (IAD).
A sword was found concealed inside a cane at Tampa (TPA).
A razor blade was found concealed in the sole of a shoe at Houston (IAH).
Foggy Notion - Yet another live smoke grenade was found in carry-on luggage. Not only would a smoke filled cabin cause problems, but these get extremely hot when used and can cause a fire. This time the smoke grenade was discovered at Tampa (TPA).

Body Scanner Discoveries This Week – There were a total of 12 illegal and prohibited items discovered this week with the body scanners at HOU, SFO, LAX, MKE, SFO, SAN, ATL, OMA, SNA, MOB and PBI. Among the items were a punching weapon, strike anywhere matches, drugs, drug paraphernalia, and a gentleman at Houston (HOU) had a half full bottle of whiskey stuffed in his waistband. Finding these types of items in areas where explosives could also be hidden is a testament that the technology works. And while it isn’t prohibited, a passenger wearing a chastity belt alarmed the body scanner at one of our checkpoints. I’m sure you can imagine where an undergarment such as this might be a problem at a security checkpoint. Especially if there is no key.

People Say the Darndest Things – Here is an example of what not to say at the airport. Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience lots of other passengers if the checkpoint has to be evacuated:

A passenger at Bangor (BGR) said the following to an Officer who was performing gate screening. “It’s a good thing when you searched my bag you didn’t find my revolver.”

Miscellaneous Prohibited Items - In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also found firearm components, realistic replica firearms, stun guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, and more knives than you can shake a stick at.  

4 loaded firearms.
4 loaded firearms.
22 firearms discovered. 18 were loaded.
Firearms - Here are the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday.

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. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure

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.

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