back to article Airport screener stuffs stolen iPad into (own) trousers

Although US Transportation Security Administration screeners are encouraged to caress others' trousers, one blue-shirted crotch watchmen used his own as a temporary cache for an iPad he'd bagged from a traveller's bag. TSA employee Nelson Santiago was spotted by a Continental Airlines employee as he was stuffing said …


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  1. MD Rackham

    Note who turned the guy in

    It was a Continental airline employee who turned this guy in. If it had been a TSA employee who saw the trouser-stuffing going on they would have just looked the other way.

    Theft out of luggage is rampant, everyone knows it is, but the TSA never sees anything. Why would they? They're too busy grabbing the goods out of everyone's luggage.

  2. Lance 3


    Look at some of the TSA people who have been caught committing crimes. You have ones that have spread images from the full body scanners, another beat their boss up (the one spreading said images if Peewe around), others committing crimes. Hell, I have seen one use an electric rascal scooter to take one of their own out. When a terrorist does something at an airport out of the control of TSA (i.e. foreign) they come up with new security measures to make things even worse.

    Would the TSA please show the American people just ONE terrorist that they have caught. That is all we ask for, one terrorist. We don't care about the hundreds of bottles of water, the numerous "knives" or the assortment of gels, aerosol or liquids above the 3.4 ounce limit either that you have stolen from the public either.

    I think there is a greater chance for Stevie Wonder to pick someone out of a line-up than the TSA actually catching someone. Haiti has a better chance at getting into space than the TSA does catching a terrorist.

  3. Robert E A Harvey

    This is what happens

    When you put Security in the hands of underpaid members of the underclass. The TSA staff I have met have been either illegal immigrants, drug addicts, or ESN dribblers.

    1. Len


      European Society of Nematologists?

      Erasmus Student Network?

      European Society for Neurochemistry?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ESN

        ESN - or educationally subnormal. Used to be an official label for children in British schools - but now derogatory.

        The American equivalent would be kids who take the short bus.

        The phrase now is "special needs"

      2. Hardcastle the ancient


        After all, it couldn't possibly mean Educationally Sub Normal, could it?

        1. Jedit Silver badge

          Well, no, Hardcastle, it couldn't

          Because "educationally subnormal" is two words, not three. Anyone who isn't educationally subnormal knows that, and so would never use "ESN" as an acronym to describe people who are.

          1. Lallabalalla

            The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

            They might also know that ESN is an abbreviation, not an acronym.

      3. Anonymous Coward

        RE: ESN

        Don't forget:

        Enterprise Social Network

        Echo state network

        Electronic Serial Number

        Endor's Silly Natives (Ewoks)

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Tourette Syndrome Association ?

    2. Fatman
      Big Brother


      TSA = 'Terminally Stupid Assholes'

      TSA = 'Trouser Snake Arrestors'

      TSA = 'Terrorists Screwing Americans'

      Any others??

      1. WoodchipSFD

        More Acronyms

        TSA- Twits Stealing Anything

        TSA- Total Security Abomination

  4. Player_16

    Remember when...

    ... the iPad first came out and people moaned that it was too big to fit in your pocket?


    Well, well; how times changed.

    1. Magnus_Pym

      Goodies ahead of their time?

      I seem to remember an episode where they marketed a 'pocket sized camera' that required special trousers with enormous pockets.

  5. Whatithink

    Airport 'security'

    Let's just stop pretending there's any point to airport 'security'

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Fondleslab out.. bomb in?

    So how long before someone in TSA puts a bomb in a suitcase - either because they are a terrorist or because they've been blackmailed.

    As someone who has suffered "loss" from suitcases and my wife had a lethal bottle of body mist "confiscated" by a female member of TSA (read - "I like that brand, I'll have that.. thank you") I have often wondered about just how secure airport security actually is.

  7. Winkypop Silver badge

    Security Theatre is proud to present:

    This weeks episode:

    Bag a bargain and stash the cash.

  8. Christoph

    What happened with the previous thefts?

    What was the TSA reaction to his previous victims when they reported that their property had been stolen? Did they investigate in any way? Or did they just ignore it and tell the victims to get stuffed, even when the volume of complaints must have made it perfectly clear that something was wrong?

    1. JMB


      "What was the TSA reaction to his previous victims when they reported that their property had been stolen?"

      I presume they keep a record of who searched which bags so it should be easy to see if there are a larger number of reports of thefts for any one TSA employee?

      Seems odd that he could advertise online and no one be able to trace back to him.

      It certainly gives very little faith in US security staff if they cannot find such a blatant thief in their own numbers.


      1. Marvin the Martian

        "keep a record of who searched which bags"

        For hand luggage: wheb you get to an airport gate, there's people for say 120 different flights filtering in at any time. You give your bags to the screening machine, it beeps, it gets searched; nobody scans your boarding pass + screener's ID.

        For check-in luggage: why would it be different?

  9. Curtis

    what do you expect?

    when the job was done by security guards, many times it was the least capable assigned to the task. when the TSA was born, these people got first call and now they're "federal officers" with federal unions keeping their worthless backsides employed. the TSA is a collection of the least intelligent workers looking over a list of "suspected" items and trying to look busy so they stretch the meaning to cover anything possible. not one of these people are trained to know what to look for in a suspected person, they just hope to catch someone in a "by gosh and golly" method. They're applying a 80/20 rule. Search everyone for 80% of the suspected items, and search 20% for everything. Ignore the dark looking fellow in his mid 20's with the heels of his shoes pushed down and the wild look in his eye (that would be profiling) but pat down and put through the backscatter machine the hot blonde that is the "sole support of two dependents" (thanks, Robert H!)

  10. Anonymous Coward

    One reason why I always Travel Light

    There are many advantages to not using checked luggage, ala style. You'd be surprised how much you can fit into a MEI Voyageur hybrid bag (which perfectly fits most maximum carry-on size limits around the world).

    Checked luggage is just asking for trouble, inconvenience and costs for the vast majority of travellers most of the time. Eventually all frequent travellers realise this ...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Aren't they unionized now?

    Expect the union to ride to the rescue of the perp, coz it can't be that TSA employees are being spied upon by lowly private airline company underlings.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    They Steal Anything...

    1. A handle is required

      How about...

      Twits Swiping Anything

  13. Steve Evans


    Surely being sylph-like would be an advantage when hiding a fondle-slab in your trousers, just poke it down the front and leave your T-shirt untucked. In fact being chunky would make it harder as fondle-slabs are flat, and chunky tummies are curved.

  14. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Big Brother

    they aint

    the brightest sparks in the universe anyway,

    I mean, cutting the straps on someone's backpack to open it when 1" away there is a plastic clip you squeeze to release and open it

    Maybe someone should look into the rates of pay for TSA employees so that they dont end up recruiting from the shallow end of the gene pool, and that their employees dont need to supplement their income by stealing stuff.

    1. Stratman


      In order to squeeze the clip you need at least one opposable thumb.

    2. Robert E A Harvey
      Big Brother


      I have a toolbox that has to be locked. For TSA purposes I hung the key on a bit of string on the handle. That didn't stop them crowbarring it open. I was given a bit of grey paper telling me how to complain. Neither phone number nor web address worked.

    3. Hud Dunlap
      Big Brother



      1. Anonymous Coward

        The working poor

        Cripes, no wonder they get monkeys, they pay peanuts.

  15. Robert E A Harvey least one opposable thumb

    or teeth.

  16. Steve Evans

    Tea leaves...

    Whenever I fly, I secure the bag with a cable tie. That way security can look inside if they want, but a light fingered grunt will probably go for something easier.

    When it gets to baggage collection time, it's obvious if anyone has been in my bag or not, and I can check the contents.

    So far that technique has proved safe from Stansted and/or Spanish handlers (who have twice helped themselves to odds and sods - pair of shorts and a Swiss army knife - I know, weird eh!).

    All my expensive stuff always goes hand luggage anyway, have you not seen how they throw the hold luggage about?!! What the iPad owner was thinking when he put his animated tea-tray into hold luggage is beyond me!

    1. Hardcastle the ancient

      Stolen or lost?

      I once flew through a US airport where the TSA could be seen over the balcony rail searching the luggage (Chicago? Newark? Some sort of hub). They seemed to upend each case over a steel table, rummage, then sweep everything back in the case and close it up. Small things rolled on the floor and were left there.

      That might explain why I have lost things from my toolkit like a 9/16AF socket, or a roll of tinned copper wire, while the $800 crimp tool was still there.

      They are still knuckle dragging morons in my book.

    2. Nigel 11

      Coloured cable tie best

      If you use a black or natural tie, they might have a replacement to hand. Mine are the purple ones.

    3. Archivist

      Cable tie?

      How do you remove the cable tie at the destination? Any possible tools: scissors, cutters, knives, have to be carried inside the case that is cable tied...

      1. dssf

        Cutting the Cable Tie at the Other End...Buying Peace of Mind

        Ask security.

        In 2004, on my way to Japan, I noticed that SFO has (or had?) a personal inspection and shrink-wrap service. I suppose it was for the uuber paranoid. Get it

        -- inspected by the authorized agents right there adjacent to the ticketing area

        -- sealed with a special seal or tag

        -- shrink wrapped

        -- trucked/dollied to the sterile or boarding area or to the more secure baggage loading area

        -- get a stub or document for ownership verification

        IIRC, that cost some $20 or $30 per piece. For those with plenty of slack time or arriving VERY very early, and who want real peace of mind you can buy (other than what comes with your ticket purchase, hehehe), this service probably cannot be beat. Dunno if it still exists. Such a continued program would serve as an indictment that TSA and other inspection agent services cannot be trusted, I suppose...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hold or Hand?

      Where did it say he was pilfering from the hold luggage?

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Glad I'm not the only one

    I had 2 watches stolen from my luggage on my way home from a deployment in the Middle East. They are just a bunch of P.O.S.'s who will rob their mothers blind.

  18. Arctic fox

    Is that a 10 incher you have in your pocket........

    ................or are you just pleased to see me?

  19. Sandra Greer
    IT Angle

    The terrorists have definitely won

    They have got us all at each others' throats. They have poorly educated recruits from the criminal classes patting down little old ladies and treating our external hearing aids as if they might be bombs.

    They win! No more flying vacations. Driving to Cape Cod is going to be the extent of my vacation plans. I only have to watch out for poorly educated recruits from the criminal classes driving trucks and SUVs on the interstate highways.

    1. Thomas Ross


      We still travel. These are still the best countries to live in.

      bolt the terrorists.

  20. kain preacher

    to the anti union people

    If you think the unions are so strong then why are traffic air controllers working crazy hours ?

    By crazy I mean showing up to work at noon then mid night the next day. Less than 4 hours between shifts and making them work doubles.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: to the anti union people

      Easy one. ATCs are smart people and therefore apt to vote the wrong way come union election time. Also they are the sort of people prone to asking difficult questions like: "Where did the union funds go?", "Was that 12 day 'fact finding' junket to the caribbean really necessary?" and "Why is it that all the candidates on this leadership ballot play golf together?".

      Union leaders prefer unquestioning sheep and are prepared to go the extra mile for them. Anyone who can spell their own name and count to ten without using their fingers is a dangerous intellectual and any work-related grievances they may purport to have are most likely a right-wing plot to discredit the brothers of the union.

    2. dssf

      Easy One, 2

      There's a budget limit to everything. Too many employees means more the taxpayers pay to cover for salaries, bonuses, benefits, and training. That many more people means more background checks, more risk that someone affiliated with criminals or dubious characters arises.

      It means farrrrr more votes than an administrator or an administration will want to be bothered with. It means more political power, and more bodies than consoles, a greater built-in dependency on an overweight department, and more people to furlough/fire or buy out at inflated prices when more computerization takes over.

  21. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Thieves Support Administration

    Well that's what it sounds like.

    Flying into Newark all I could think of was Ray Liotta saying "All my life I wanted to be a gangster" along with "The airport was our private piggy bank".

  22. Nigel 11

    Ferret-legging punishment, 21st century style

    Poetic justice would be that the device he'd hidden down his trousers burst into flames, courtesy of a defective Lithium battery and a rise in temperature.

  23. Gil Grissum

    Security camera anyone?

    It begs the question, why aren't TSA staffers under the watchful eye of security cameras? This would insure that blackmailed or bribed TSA staffers aren't allowing a terrorist to get through check points with anything, as well as keeping the TSA honest about staffers stealing anything from Airline passengers. Also, wasn't the passenger standing right there and able to see this bloke stuffing the kit in his trousers? Or was another TSA staffer (the accomplice) distracting the passenger with fondle grabbing and what not?

  24. Number6


    I take all electronics with me in my carry-on because as I'm not allowed to lock my bag, I refuse to put anything in there that I don't want to lose. My checked luggage consists of clothes (possibly worn and smelly if on the way home), local food items that are not easily available at home and are legal to import and a few cheap souvenirs. Irritating if lost, but not too bad. They're also items that are less likely to be stolen in the first place.

    Similarly, if I'm ever unfortunate enough to have something placed in my luggage (and I've had a few TSA 'your bag was searched' notices in there), one theme of my defence would be that because I can't lock the bag, I am not responsible for what is found in it once it has left my possession. Probably wouldn't work in most places though :-(

  25. IR


    This kind of thing would be eliminated if they had to undergo the same security checks as us every time they leave the security area, but I expect they'd complain about it being unnecessary

  26. Stevie


    The real worry here shouldn't be whether the TSA employees steal or not, it should be that the lack of oversight of the baggage operations leaves them open to terrorists putting something ON the plane in someone's luggage.

  27. JaitcH

    Only crazy people check valuables - especially in the USA

    London, and the 'tunnels' used to be the prime baggage theft site for baggage theft, but now the WHOLE of the USA is on the list.

    I always carry my goodies on my person as carry-on. If important, although less valuable, I put them in netted, as from Pac-Saf, which are securely attached to the bag. They permit inspection yet remain secure.

    X-ray theft is also prevalent and I use the security cable from my laptop, looped through my jacket and other stuff, to prevent theft. Waiting, as in holding back, to ensure the X-ray channel is clear also helps prevent 'accidental' theft.

    Most every flight I make requires a hand-job so previous passengers have usually cleared by the time my first carry-on has been X-rayed.

    I also carry plenty of 'baggies' and make a point of packing my pocket items in them, before heading off for check-in. Even in a tray, stuff in bags is harder to steal.

    Another distraction, during which thefts can occur, which can be avoided are metal belt buckles - I now only use inelegant plastic web buckles along with web belts and they NEVER trigger the X-ray. The only challenge is when a stupid security type says 'remove your belt' for I cannot remove my belt without taking my pants off!

    1. ScaredyCat

      One ticket to New York with a complimentary hand-job...

      "Most every flight I make requires a hand-job so previous passengers have usually cleared by the time my first carry-on has been X-rayed."

      You must fly with a great airline....

  28. kain preacher


    let me Clarify a few things. the FAA does have enough flight controllers , they choose to make them work crazy hours. Not much the union can do about since flight operations is deemed vital and a 1950's law bans them from striking. This law was upheld in 1971 by Supreme Court of the United States. in 1981 when the FAA controllers did strike Regan fired them all and decertify the FAA union.

    1. Hardcastle the ancient


      I'd have fired them too. They were pretty uppity.

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