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back to article TSA officer accused of stealing from passenger luggage

A US Transportation Security Administration officer has been charged with theft after he allegedly stole a passenger's luxury watch that wound up for sale on eBay. Paul Yashou, 38, of Torrance, California, was indicted Friday on two felony and three misdemeanor theft counts. Federal prosecutors allege he stole four watches and …

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Give him a travelling sentence.

Make him go through the airport security continuously for an 1 year.

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Anonymous Coward

Only after mounting some metal inside him

Your sentence may be more effective if he would get the rubber glove treatment so often he'd never need laxatives again..

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tas

Checked luggage or hand luggage?

What I want to know is were these items stolen from checked luggage being screened well away from the passenger or taken from a hand luggage screenings like another recent TSA stolen news article?

Most, if not all, of the items listed sound like they would be contained in hand luggage taken on board the plane by passengers themselves.

It's important because many people Travel Light these days, i.e. do not use checked luggage even for extended trips due to the risks and inconvenience, ala. OneBag.com style.

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Stupid People

I don't know who is dumber, the TSA agent or the jewelry store owner . Expensive watches have their serial numbers recorded . Personal I think the jeweler should be held liable for not taking due care to make sure he was not buying some thing stolen.

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Easier said then done

The watch industry is not nearly as tech savvy as you'd like, something to do with selling obsolete tech. Even assuming that he reported the watch stolen to IWC, which not many people do, unless the Jeweler was an authorized dealer, it's unlikely they'd have even responded to his queries and neigh impossible that it would have happened in a timely manner. The jeweler probably made a copy of his drivers license and simply passed that on to the copy when questioned

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WTF?

You have to worry about a "security" system which.........

.............employs people who not only steal from those who they are supposed to be protecting but are stupid enough to fence readily recognisable goods on ebay. Crooked and as thick as shit? Your country needs you!

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@artic

He sold it to a jeweler , it's the jeweler that was thick as shit for buying a stole item then selling it on ebay.

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chain of crime

I do hope the jeweller only paid him $25 for the watch...

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Ru
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Big Brother

Actually, stupid staff are a benefit

Who, really, wants every border to be filled with extremely capable, intelligent staff who are also corrupt, thieving, lying sociopaths?

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Jury trial

If he wants a fair trial, he better not ask for a jury. Not many will be sympathetic towards the TSA. They may want him in prison so he can get "screened" at least daily.

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How many days?

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

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Severe Penalties

He shouldn't just be charged with theft. Because airline passengers are forced to entrust their baggage to TSA personnel - and, for that matter, to airline baggage handling personnel - because of emergency anti-terrorism laws, these people are in a special position of trust.

So if they commit any thefts from passenger luggage, in addition to any theft charges, they should also face Federal felony charges with especially severe penalties - so that any theft, however small, could lead to life imprisonment.

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@John Savard

"in addition to any theft charges, they should also face Federal felony charges with especially severe penalties - so that any theft, however small, could lead to life imprisonment."

Now that sounds like a deterrent, *provided* it's emphasized in training.

Travellers to/from the USA have a choice *which* airport they go into.

There is no choice on using or not using the TSA (or is that the TSA or whoever they outsourced the job to locally).

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Devil

How about

he's helping erode confidence in the Government's security processes. Which helps Terrorists.

Not reporting this sort of behaviour if discovered in other workers means that things can be brought in past security as well as sneaked out- potentially aiding Terrorism.

Removing high-value items from travellers' bags (especially laptops etc from government employees) could lead to the dissemination of classified information or login details- potentially aiding Terrorism.

So it's clearly a terrorism offence and should be treated accordingly. They should hang the fucker.

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While I agree to the principle...

...of laying an extremely heavy sentence on guys like this, I think terrorism charges are way over the top. One of my main gripes with government evolving into a police state is the ever-increasing use of a "terrorism" catch-all charge for what are really mundane crimes.

TSA employees being subject to heavier penalties for theft because of their privileged and trusted position (as in police being charged with the additional "crime they are duty-bound to prevent") is the correct way to go.

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@James Micallef

"One of my main gripes with government evolving into a police state is the ever-increasing use of a "terrorism" catch-all charge for what are really mundane crimes."

I think it's the sense that effectively the TSA *exists* because of the terrorist "Threat"

There is a sense of "make a living by the terrorist threat, get punished by the rules you are *meant* to be using to protect us".

TSA employees being subject to heavier penalties for theft because of their privileged and trusted position (as in police being charged with the additional "crime they are duty-bound to prevent") is the correct way to go."

Which raises the question how *often* is that crime actually invoked. It should be *every* time but I'll bet it's not.

Thumbs up for the idea, in principle.

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WTF?

Once again these are the people...

... who are supposed to be "protecting" travellers from terrorists...?

How much longer can this security farce go on before someone with the power to do something gets off their backside and actually *does* something???

PS El Reg, you've linked to the wrong article about the "white powder gag" it's http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/22/tsa_screener_joke/ :-)

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Coat

Can't get rid of the system

The TSA has caught literally hundreds of terrorists and prevented many planes from being blown up, they can't possibly be described as a farce.

At least, I assume that's the case, but I can't think of any specific cases at the moment.

Can anyone help out?

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Unhappy

Considering how easily these people seem to self-corrupt

I wonder what the buy-in price for getting one to plant bombs in aircraft-bound luggage is. It doesn't look like it would be very high, sadly.

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idiot

You don't steal from US passengers, you steal from departing foreigners.

Since the US will only investigate crimes reported there, unless the visitor is prepared to fly back to the US to report his stolen camera/watch/laptop - and risk it happening again - you are completely safe.

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You can steal from anyone, nobody cares.

The process of making a claim against the TSA for loss or damage is so complex that that you might as well steal from anyone - they will take anything, we've had cigarettes taken as well as prescription medicine, we've lost lost jewelry, shoes - and a friend of mine even had all her underwear taken (at the start of a trip, not the return in case you were wondering). However much of the theft is not done by the TSA - since all bags are unlocked now the baggage handlers can help themselves too. As a result, if you make a claim against the TSA they will say that the airline took it, and when you go to the airline they will say that it's a TSA problem.

A few year back there was some video floating around of the baggage handlers at New Orleans dragging suitcases full of stuff out to the packing lot at the end of the day and sharing out the proceeds. They did this under one of the parking lot security cameras.

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Not sure

I'm not sure the TSA searches outbound luggage.

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@since all bags are unlocked

One can use one of those padlocks with the special little logo, which TSA can open, but other people (allegedly) can't. I've been using those for a few years already; the airline personnel take a look to see if it is the right type, and let it stay put. Does not make you safe from the TSA, of course, but better than nothing...

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OK - so using their logic

...because we've now had a couple of TSA agents found guilty of theft, that they are all thieves?

In the same one way there was only one shoe bomber, and in their tiny minds, we are now all shoe bombers and are subject to 'shoe screening'?

I loathe and detest the TSA - in case that wasn't obvious

Has anyone ever swabbed and analysed the disgusting carpet one is forced to walk on en route to the body scanner (that 'doesn't do belts' etc)?

Grrr

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Facepalm

Don't let logic get in the way of a good rant, eh?

Shoe screening != "you are a shoe bomber." Shoe screening == "you could potentially be a shoe bomber." If the TSA were taking everyone's shoes without screening, you'd have a point.

So let's use actual logic: Everyone in the TSA could potentially be a thief.

That's why there are background checks and security cameras, and should be periodic reviews.

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Mushroom

Biggest theft/protection ring going

TSA has that action down. The wife had some things stolen from her bags last year and now we don't fly without TSA locks as we have been informed that if we don't use TSA locks, any real locks will be broken off and if we leave our bags unlocked... well, things might get stolen. Nice racket they have going, I wonder what the kickback is from the lock makers.

What, no Godfather icon?

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Mushroom

all a lie

The morons will cheerfully rip off TSA locks too.

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Pint

Can't you use a real lock...

if you have a gun in your checked luggage?

Seriously, I read an article somewhere about a photographer that always traveled with a starter pistol (which, per TSA regulations is considered a gun) in his *checked* baggage (somehow, don't ask me how because I have no clue, there is a legal way to do this). Apparently when you do this there are all sorts of handling and security controls that don't apply to normal baggage.

Anyway, for me, I never check *anything* unless I'm going somewhere for more than a week... and when I do, it's socks, shoes, underwear, etc. The most expensive thing I ever checked was a tripod in a duffel bag - surrounded, again, by a bunch of cheap/easily replaceable stuff. IIRC, I didn't even have the the tripod head (really nice pistol grip Manfrotto) on it - it was with my carry on. Anything of value goes carry-on and never really leaves my sight save the trip through the X-Ray machine and overhead compartment storage.

/Beer... because even as a somewhat frequent traveler, I could always use one after dealing with the TSA.

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Ru
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Unhappy

I've heard this story too

When you check something that is hazardous enough to be treated carefully, but not so dangerous it is banned entirely, it will get a bit more respect from the baggage throwers than the normal stuff.

I bet the set of items which meets those criteria is pretty small to nonexistent these days, mind you.

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Boffin

I wonder how proffessional golfers/photographers fly?

Both may have to carry *very* valuable items which are essential to their work.

so what to they do about it?

incidentally I wonder if anyone in the US has filed an FOI request to find out how many staff have been arrested for baggage theft in a year?

The TSA is a pretty big organisation so what is the actual *rate* of hiring crooked stuff (or staff who are at least corruptible)?

Is that good, bad or average for such an organisation.

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Happy

Ship via Federal Express/UPS

If it's valuable and/or you really must have it there - ship via Federal Express or UPS. These services are reliable, the gear gets there when it's supposed to and the employees don't steal from you - in fact, they're even friendly too!

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well

carry stuff as hand luggage (talking about people with valuable photographic equipment). Although having said that, watermarks would identify my equipment.

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Happy

The golfers I know...

ship their bags. It's actually cheaper now to ship than pay the excess/oversized baggage fees from some airlines... you also don't have to drag that crap through the airport - which is a bonus in my book.

While not a professional photographer (I do the occasional wedding, but it's a side job), I have never checked any of my equipment save my tripod (which is too big for carry on). If I needed more equipment than I could carry-on I would either ship it or rent it at my destination.

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Ru
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Flame

I carry my photography gear on with me.

Nothing which appears to be valuable gets checked. Risks of theft aside, baggage handlers can be unbelievably incompetent, and I'm not going to trust a few thousand pounds worth of lenses to them. Even insurers get concerned about their customers doing that sort of thing.

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Ship via Fedex and UPS?

Funny thing is is they don't HAVE enough a/c in their own fleets to carry it all. Some stuff goes by commercial air, meaning if it is flying cheaper that way, either the shippers are taking a loss to make a customer happy, or the airlines are exhorbitantly ripping of passengers whose stuff should fly at cheaper rates afforded to cargo carriers.

Also, even the USPS ships stuff via Fedex and UPS when goods are shipped to overseas. The USPS and Fedex has some sort of arrangement... which explains why we can see (here in the USA) Fedex drop boxes in front of USPS buildings. Haven't seen UPS boxes in front of the USPS (yet)...

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Terminator

TS^McDon......

They were looking for their Happy Meal prize in the passenger's luggage..

T = Taking

S = Shit

A = Automatically

We've had 2 "TSA compatible" suitcases destroyed by these fuckers in the last 2 years. They're dumber than a McFuckingD's burger flipping trainee. And they believe they're powered by God in the way they swagger.

Shove a glass rod up their toddlers, smash with hammer. Repeat until bored. Then cavity search them until bored. Rinse. Repeat.

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Big Brother

TSA = Things Stolen Always

Who watches the watchers?

<moses>If you'll pardon the pun. Wish wings!</moses>

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nope - you're both wrong

TSA is their motto = Tough Shit Arseholes

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Mushroom

What if he had put something IN the baggage

Never mind the fancy watch. The worrying bit is that if these goons can remove stuff from our bags and smuggle it out, what's to stop them getting a bomb in and stuffing it in a bag? Who guards the guards? Poor supervision and poor background checks on their minions - they can't be very thorough if they're hiring crooks.

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Meh

@John 98

"The worrying bit is that if these goons can remove stuff from our bags and smuggle it out, "

What makes you think they have *smuggle* it out of the airport.

The Thieves Support Association won't stop them.

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Um

TSA is their motto = Tough Shit Assholes.

No one says arse here .

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I bet

That the number of "terrorists" caught by the TSA is exceeded by the number of TSA staff caught stealing.

Security theatre at its best.

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Devil

TSA response

"66 cameras, 31 laptops, 20 cell phones, 17 electronic games, 13 pieces of jewelry, 12 global positioning systems, 11 MP3 players, eight camera lenses, six video cameras, and two DVD players"

......and the reply to every one of those who reported their item stolen was "never had that happen before.....not our responsibility.....prove it.....national security.....catching terrorists....ensuring your journey is safer....talk to the airline"

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Imagine how much money the DHLS and CIA and FBI

and other agencies must be spending monitoring these people.

Just seeing this theft blotter in the news must make terrorists agog with plans to exploit them at some point in the future. Set a poor one up with an all-expense paid trip (or, is that against regs, or must be reported in advance to allow for sussing?), then cause him/her to lose big, since the house may be signed over (or the car if living in an apartment). Or, just monitor one who observes but fails to report on a TSA thief who might go on to score bigger catch. Then threaten the non-reporting observer and blackmail him/her. Scenarios are aplenty.

I think if i have to fly, I will ship non-carry-on luggage via Fedex or UPS or USPS, or as for clothing, just get someone on the other side to buy the stuff I need. Better yet, measure self in a local store and order it online to be shipped to the destination probably cheaper than Fedex or USPS or UPS will ship it.

In the long run, it'll be better if all those supercomputer we read about every couple of weeks are programmed with optical, thermal, mass, chemical, and geometric attributes of all known, manufactured items and spread that stuff across distributed meshes that'll make scanning and threat assessing go very fast. Have the stuff enter giant bunny or Hibatrail tubes at the curb/drop-off spot. Have the pax rid with it on the conveyer. Scan it continuously for 1500 feet in the tube network ride. Deposit the flier at his/her terminal. Kiss goodbye to the days of walking into the terminal. The terminal becomes a Green Zone and non-filers and Ticket Agents and TSA operatives are a thing of the past. Just hire floor sweepers and taser/club-armed security. Make it s sterile that even guns won't be needed in the facility. Fire ALL the TSA agents who are bloating the Tax Payer's bill.

I wonder how Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean and European and Australian fliers fare in this Post-9/11 world regarding theft of their personal property. Yeh, it may not be an epidemic, but is IS causing global disrespect for the USA and strengthening the phrase "Security Theatre".

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Facepalm

This is why....

... the only things I check in are stuff that's not valuable, and most definitely covered by my travel insurance. Everything valuable is in my hand luggage, with me at all times, I make full use of my 5Kg allowance - I'd have thought it was an obvious thing to do? (Especially something as small as a watch/jewellery etc).

Apparently not, face-palm.

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Pint

As Mick Said...

"...every cop is a crim-i-nal, and aaaaalll the sinners, saints."

Who watches the watchers? It doesn't help that they are underpaid/undertrained.

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...and...

...underclass

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Anonymous Coward

Great

Just purchase a new suitcase with a TSA lock, this has a combination for me to use and a key which only the TSA in America have access to, nice to know that should they choose to use their key my stuff is safe!

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JMB

TSA

The headline is as surprising as reading that the pope is Catholic.

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Gimp

engineers of the world - help!

The sooner the world has a viable alternative to flying, the better IMO. Who wouldn't want to bum f*ck BA, VIrgin, Easyjet, American Airlines et al. ad infinitum?

I hate airlines with the sort of venom usually reserved for paedophiles or NotW editors.

Who wants to be virtually strip searched by x-ray, have their luggage searched/property stolen, wait around for hours to be able to get checked in/through security, be subjected to all types of random unexplained delays and not be able to take any water with you? Who I ask you? Only a masochist.

The TSA and their attitude is just another reason to find a way to circumvent the airlines.

"The Gimp" icon - because I hope that guy gets whats coming to him.

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