Friday, April 5, 2013

TSA Week in Review: Black Powder, Suspicious Items & More



Black Powder at ANC - After causing an alarm in checked baggage, Officers found a 3.2 ounce flask of black powder, 22 feet of fuse, a large empty CO2 cartridge, and miscellaneous ammunition in a passenger’s bag at Anchorage (ANC).
Black Powder & Fuses (ANC)
Black Powder at ANC - After causing an alarm in checked baggage, Officers found a 3.2 ounce flask of black powder, 22 feet of fuse, a large empty CO2 cartridge, and miscellaneous ammunition in a passenger’s bag at Anchorage (ANC).


 
Suspicious Items (DTW)
Suspicious Items (DTW)

Suspicious Items at DTW- A suspicious item that appeared to be an IED was detected in a carry-on bag at Detroit (DTW). It was determined that the bag contained a gel-filled wave machine, power adapter, alarm clock and stand for the wave machine all wrapped in a thick layer of newspaper and black duct tape. In the X-ray, this appeared to be an explosive, and alarms like this require bomb squad resolution.  So even if you’re packing items you know are harmless, please consider how they may look in the X-ray and pack them in a way that doesn’t make them look suspicious.  As a result of this alarm, the terminal experienced a 1-hour, 51-minute evacuation. Sixteen flights were delayed almost 23 hours, affecting 2071 passengers.



Loaded Gun in Carry-on (IND)
Loaded Gun in Carry-on (IND)
32 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 32 firearms, 29 were loaded and eight had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.

 
Inert Grenade (DFW)
Inert Grenade (DFW)
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 in checkpoint screening. I know they are cool novelty items, but you cannot bring them on a plane. Read here and here on why inert items cause problems.

  • Two inert/replica grenades were discovered this week in carry-on bags at Seattle (SEA), and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).

Stun Guns – Nine stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation.  Two were discovered at Palm Beach (PBI), and the others at Baltimore (BWI), Las Vegas (LAS), Atlanta (ATL), Fort Myers (RSW), Charleston (CRW), Denver (DEN), and San Francisco (SFO).


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:

  • During additional screening at Madison (MSN), a TSA Officer asked the passenger if there were any sharp items in his bag. The passenger stated: “Yeah, grenades, I’m just joking.”
  • After a passenger at Orlando (MCO) was told that his by a ticket agent that his bag was overweight, he responded: “And that’s why your airplane is going to blow up.”
  • While a TSA Officer was searching a passenger’s bag at Minneapolis (MSP), she stated: “Be careful with my bag – it might blow up.”

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 Discovered This Week

7 loaded firearms.
3 loaded firearms.

5 loaded firearms.

 

32 Firearms Discovered This Week – of the 32 firearms, 29 were loaded and eight had rounds chambered.
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. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500.00. 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.



If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out our post highlighting the dangerous, scary, and downright unusual items our officers found in 2012. The 2011 list can be found here.

Bob Burns  TSA Blog Team 
If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.

Thank you Corporal Justin Rogers: Serving and Protecting Even While Off-duty


TSA would like to thank Corporal Justin Rogers for his selfless and speedy actions on behalf of one of our officers at Honolulu International Airport.

video

On March 30th, 2013, Cpl. Rogers was off-duty, traveling home to California from a family vacation in Honolulu, and as he prepared for screening at the checkpoint (no shoes!) he saw a TSA Officer being assaulted by a woman attempting to enter a secure area, which the officer was tasked to guard. Just like a scene from all-time favorite reality TV show, “Cops,” he leapt into action immediately, breaking the TSA Officer free of the woman’s headlock and restraining her until airport police arrived.  You can see this off-duty officer in action by watching the video above. For full viewing effect, I suggest watching it with this theme song.

Thank you Cpl. Justin Rogers, for your heroic actions and your continued service.

Bessy,
TSA Blog Team