Friday, January 11, 2013

TSA Week in Review: Black Powder, Grenades, Line Charge, Stun Guns, and More…



If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out our post from earlier this week. It’s a look at the dangerous, scary, and downright unusual items our officers found in 2012.


Black Powder At Cleveland – Over nine ounces of black powder was discovered in a carry-on bag at Cleveland (CLE).
Black Powder (CLE)

Black Powder At ClevelandOver nine ounces of black powder was discovered in a carry-on bag at Cleveland (CLE).


A serrated wire garrote was discovered in the passenger’s carry-on bag.
Garrote (BOS)

Garrote Discovered After BDO Referral – Behavior Detection Officers at Boston (BOS) referred a passenger for additional screening. During the screening, a serrated wire garrote was discovered in the passenger’s carry-on bag. 


Inert Ordnance and Grenades Etc. – We continue to find inert hand grenades and other weaponry on weekly basis. Please keep in mind that if an item looks like a realistic bomb, grenade, mine, etc., it is prohibited - real or not. When these items are found at a checkpoint or in checked baggage, they can cause significant delays. I know they are cool novelty items, but it is best not to take them on a plane.  Read here and here on why inert items cause problems. 

 

A bandolier line charge was discovered after it alarmed in checked baggage at Norfolk (ORF).
Bandolier Line Charge (ORF)


  • A bandolier line charge was discovered after it alarmed in checked baggage at Norfolk (ORF). It was determined that the item was inert and used by a contractor who conducts demonstrations for the military. As I’ve said before, we’re all too familiar with instructors and other people in this type of business needing these sorts of items for their jobs. As with all inert training items and replicas, we don’t know they’re not real until we’ve checked them out. This 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. Read here and here on why inert items cause problems at checkpoints.

  • Eight replica/inert grenades were discovered this week, one in a carry-on bag at Salt Lake City (SLC), and five others in checked baggage – three at Harrisburg (MDT), three at Anchorage (ANC), and one at San Diego (SAN). The three grenades at MDT caused a 1-hour, 8-minute evacuation of the checked baggage area.


Eight replica/inert grenades were discovered this week, one in a carry-on bag at Salt Lake City (SLC), and five others in checked baggage – three at Harrisburg (MDT), three at Anchorage (ANC), and one at San Diego (SAN).


Items in the Strangest Places –It’s important to check your bags prior to traveling. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag, you could be cited and possibly arrested by local law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found in strange places. 

  • A knife was discovered in a laptop at Denver (DEN).
  • A saw blade was discovered under the sole of a shoe in a carry-on bag at Ellis (OAJ).

Stun Guns – Eight stun guns were discovered this week in a carry-on bags around the nation: One each at San Francisco (SFO), Sacramento (SMF), San Juan (SJU), Pittsburgh (PIT), Akron (CAK), Seattle (SEA), and two at Denver (DEN).

What Not to Say at an Airport – Statements like these not only delay the people who said them but can also inconvenience many other passengers if the checkpoint or terminal has to be evacuated:

  • A passenger at Miami (MIA) asked the gate agent: “What if I have a bomb?” 
Miscellaneous Prohibited Items - In addition to all of the other prohibited items we find weekly, our Officers also regularly find firearm components, realistic replica firearms, bb and pellet guns, Airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, batons, and a lot of sharp pointy things -- to mention a few…  

Firearms - Here are pictures of some of the firearms our Officers found in carry-on baggage since I posted last Friday. See a complete list below.  

5 loaded firearms.
5 loaded firearms.




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.

*In order to provide a timely weekly update, I compile my data from a preliminary report. The year-end numbers will vary slightly (increase) from what I report in the weekly updates. However, any monthly, midyear, or end-of-year numbers TSA provides on this blog or elsewhere will not be estimates.







Bob Burns 
TSA Blog Team 

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