Friday, July 19, 2013

False Report: TSA Airport Car Searches



CarsIt has been reported that TSA Officers at airports are now searching cars. The news started to spread after a story ran  this week stating that a woman found a notice informing her that her car had been searched by TSA. 

The short version: While we deploy numerous layers of security, TSA officers are not inspecting cars or mandating that they be searched.

In this case, it turns out the car was searched by an employee of a car parking service. 

Each airport authority, along with its state and local law enforcement partners, is responsible for securing airport property, including the outer perimeter.  At this particular airport, car searches are part of their “airport security plan.”

An airport security plan addresses a myriad of security requirements that each airport must adhere to in order to protect the traveling public, which includes the physical security of the airport property. While the airport security plan is approved by the TSA, it is up to each airport authority and its state and local law enforcement partners to follow the plan that has been implemented. 

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team 

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TSA Week in Review: A Gag Gift Gone Wrong, 49 Firearms Discovered, and Other Interesting Tidbits


 A gag retirement gift designed to look like an improvised explosive device didn’t look like a gag to the TSA Officer who spotted it on the X-ray at St. Petersburg / Clearwater (PIE). With its metal box and wires strewn about, it looked like it could be the real deal.
Gag Retirement Gift

Gag Gift – A gag retirement gift designed to look like an improvised explosive device didn’t look like a gag to the TSA Officer who spotted it on the X-ray at St. Petersburg / Clearwater (PIE). With its metal box and wires strewn about, it looked like it could be the real deal.

Loaded gun. (HOU)
Loaded Gun (HOU)
49 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 49 firearms,  36 were loaded and  10 had rounds chambered. See a complete list and more photos at the bottom of this post.

 
Airsoft Guns
Airsoft Guns – Two Airsoft guns were discovered in carry-on baggage at Los Angeles (LAX). Airsoft guns are prohibited in carry-on bags, but allowed in checked baggage. Read this post for more information: TSA Travel Tips Tuesday: Traveling With Airsoft Guns
 
Stun Guns Discovered at (L-R) DEN, PHX, BWI, MEM, LAS, MDW
Stun Guns Discovered at (L-R) DEN, PHX, BWI, MEM, LAS, MDW
Stun Guns – Eight stun guns were discovered this week in carry-on bags around the nation at: Baltimore (BWI), Las Vegas (LAS),  Phoenix (PHX),  Memphis (MEM),  Minneapolis (MSP),  St. Louis (STL),  Denver (DEN), and Chicago Midway (MDW).
Grenades Discovered at (L-R) SEA, ATL, LAS, SJC
Grenades Discovered at (L-R) SEA, ATL, LAS, SJC
Inert Ordnance and Grenades etc. - We continue to find inert hand grenades and other weaponry on a 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.
  • Four inert/replica/novelty grenades were discovered this week. Two were in carry-on bags at Las Vegas (LAS), and the others were discovered in checked baggage at Seattle (SEA), and San Jose (SJC).
  • An empty M60 igniter was discovered on a key ring at Richmond (RIC). While these do make interesting key rings, they can also be used in harmful ways. So… best not to bring them.

M60 Igniter (RIC)
M60 Igniter (RIC)
Cane Sword (LRD), Box Cutter in Shoe (SLC), Credit Card Knife (ABQ) Lipstick Knife (SAT)
Cane Sword (LRD), Box Cutter in Shoe (SLC), Credit Card Knife (ABQ) Lipstick Knife (SAT)

Items in the Strangest Places –It’s important to examine your bags prior to traveling to ensure no prohibited items are inside. If a prohibited item is discovered in your bag, you could be cited and quite possibly arrested by local law enforcement. Here are a few examples from this week where prohibited items were found in strange places.
  • A three-inch pocketknife was discovered concealed in a passenger’s bra at Honolulu (HNL) after she went through the metal detector.
  • A box cutter blade was detected concealed in the shoes of a Salt Lake City (SLC) passenger.
  • A 17½-inch sword was detected concealed in the cane of a Laredo (LRD) passenger.
  • Two paring knives were discovered concealed inside the lining of a passenger’s bag at Fort Lauderdale (FLL).
  • A lipstick knife was discovered in a passenger’s bag at San Antonio (SAT). 
  • A credit card knife was discovered in a carry-on bag at Albuquerque (ABQ).  
  • A razor blade was detected in the shoe of a passenger at Phoenix (PHX).

Fireworks (JAX), Flares (PHX)
Fireworks (JAX), Flares (PHX)
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… 
  
Knives Discovered at (L-R) BNA, DTW, DTW, OAK, OAK, SAN, FLL, LAX
Knives Discovered at (L-R) BNA, DTW, DTW, OAK, OAK, SAN, FLL, LAX
                                    
                                      Firearms Discovered This Week in Carry-On Bags
Loaded Gun TPA
Loaded Guns and Ammunition Discovered at Tampa
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) SDF, MIA, ORD, MCI, ADQ, BWI
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) SDF, MIA, ORD, MCI, ADQ, BWI
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) RDU, MSP, JAN, ATL, FSM
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) RDU, MSP, JAN, ATL, FSM
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) BNA, GPT, AMA, DEN, TPA
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) BNA, GPT, AMA, DEN, TPA
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) ATL, CAE, TPA, DTW, LBB
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) ATL, CAE, TPA, DTW, LBB
Firearms Discovered at (L-R) FLL, RDU, RIC

49 Firearms Discovered This Week – Of the 49 firearms,  36 were loaded and  10 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.


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