After hearing the numbers – 381 TSA officers have been fired for stealing from passengers and their luggage – ABC News’ Brian Ross dug deep and did his own investigative reporting to determine just how shady the Transportation Security Administration is. Apparently, not much.
According to the ABC News story, undercover reporters slipped iPads and cash into check-in luggage and carryon bags at 10 different airports known for TSA theft. Nothing went missing in the fake check-in bags and nine out of 10 times an iPad that was “accidentally” left behind at an airport screening gate was returned. However, one unlucky opportunist couldn’t resist the temptation and took the planted iPad home with him.
Last week, we told you about a flight attendant at Horizon Air that couldn’t help but pocket an iPad that was left behind on a plane. TSA Agent Andy Ramirez followed the same path when ABC’s undercover reporter left behind the iPad in question.
Just as what happened with the flight attendant, the Apple tablet was tracked to Ramirez’s house using the free Find My iPhone app. He denied having the device at all until Ross set off the alarm that is featured in the app and sure enough, the high-pitched sound could be heard inside his house.
While watching the ABC News expose, I sympathized with Ramirez. Sure, he committed a crime by taking home an iPad that cost someone between $499 and $829, depending on the model. But the secretive reporting of ABC News cost the opportunistic TSA agent his job. I felt bad for the guy.
That is, until I heard his excuse for how the device got into his house. Ramirez actually blamed the theft on his wife. He was willing to send his spouse to jail in order to protect himself. “I’m so embarrassed,” said Ramirez. “My wife got the iPad and brought it home.”
When Ross revealed that he had video footage of Ramirez being the last person seen with the iPad, he just shrugged his shoulders and walked away.
Even though this man’s behavior darkens the stain of the TSA, it is important to point out that the investigative report only turned up one criminal out of the 10 different airports they went undercover at. If someone left an iPad on the seat next to you at a restaurant, would your moral compass lead you to turn in the device, or would you at least ponder the possibility of slipping it into your bag as you left? If you think you might pocket the iPad, just remember how easy it is for the owner to track it down with the Find my iPhone app.
[Via: TNT Magazine]