A former TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agent in the US , who spent three years in prison for stealing from passengers’ luggage, says the practice is “commonplace.”
Pythias Brown admitted to stealing more than 800,000 dollars worth of cash, clothing and electronics over a four-year period at Newark Liberty International Airport. He was finally caught trying to sell a stolen CNN camera on eBay.
“Theft was very commonplace. Very,” the New York Daily News quoted Brown, as saying. ”It became so easy, I got complacent. It was so easy. One day I walked out of there with the video game, the Nintendo Wii. I walked right out of the checkpoint with the Nintendo Wii in my hand,” he added.
According to the report, nearly 400 TSA officers have been fired for stealing since 2003, according to the agency, which is charged with providing security for passengers and freight. But Brown says the fired TSA officers might be the tip of the iceberg.
“They [ TSA managers] never searched our bags, they never searched us. Nothing,” he said. He said most of the valuable items are taken out of carry-on bags that pass through screenings and X-ray machines while their owners make their way through security checkpoints and metal detector.
Brown, who was convicted in 2009 and just released from prison, said he’s coming forward to help make up for his crimes. ”I want to give back. To help … help people understand you have to be very careful when you have your items in your bag,” he said.