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ABC News busts TSA iPad thief; culprit blames wife

updated 12:47 am EDT, Fri September 28, 2012

Investigation carried out at airports with 'history of TSA theft'

In an investigation launched by ABC News, a TSA officer in Orlando has been caught taking an iPad home that was left behind by the news crew to tempt prospective thieves. The iPad was one of ten purposely left behind at TSA checkpoints with a history of theft by government-hired employees. Nine others were put into the lost-and-found system, and their "owners" contacted, as dictated by policy.

Chair of the House Transportation Committee Rep John Mica (R-FL) said regarding the report that "this is the tip of the iceberg. It is an outrage to the public, and actually to our aviation system."

The iPad left in Orlando was not deposited into the lost-and-found system, and two hours later, the "Find My iPad" app showed the device as it left the airport and headed to the home of the TSA screener. After waiting 15 days, ABC news confronted Andy Ramirez, who denied having the iPad.

ABC news activated the audible alarm in the app, which forced Ramirez to turn the iPad over to the reporters, after taking off his uniform shirt. He explained that his wife had taken it from the airport, but how she got it from the lost-and-found department which Ramirez claims to have delivered the device after finding it, isn't clear.

Shortly after Ramirez handed over the iPad, his wife appeared at the door and said "no told my husband," presumably taking the blame for the iPad's removal from the airport. ABC News showed Ramirez handling the iPad at the checkpoint on video, at which point Ramirez shut the door on the news crew, and has answered no further questions about the incident.

In a statement, the TSA said it "holds its employees to the highest ethical standards." Ramirez was no longer with the agency as of Wednesday afternoon. In a statement to ABC News, the agency said it has "a zero-tolerance policy for theft and terminates any employee who is determined to have stolen from a passenger."



By Electronista Staff
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  1. coffeetime

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 11-15-06

    How about giving each TSA employee an iPad for working for TSA? These people working their b-u-t-t off to keep airport safe, shouldn't they earn a reward? Not to mention their salary is probably on OK level.

  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 11-14-05

    TSA is nothing more than glorified security guards. They are not law enforcement and do little to "protect" us. They just steal from passengers, look at naked people, feel up people, and make travel a pain in the behind.

  1. chas_m

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 08-04-01

    coffeetime, are you for real? The TSA do *nothing* to make us safer, but do *plenty* to make the act of flying almost intolerable.

    How *anyone* thinks this is better than the Air Marshals program is quite beyond me.

  1. FireWire

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 10-03-99

    Shortly after Ramirez handed over the iPad, his wife appeared at the door and said "no told my husband,"

  1. Salsa

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 10-27-03

    Coffeetime, the TSA was created by politicians to convert 40,000 jobs into unionized jobs that give money to politicians who support unions. It had nothing to do with safety.

  1. kerryb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-05-01

    As much as I hate the very existence of the TSA and the ridiculous lengths our government has forced upon airline customers all in the name of "safety" I doubt there is more theft in this industry than in most others. Sure it's just one more slap in the face after we have been exposed to unnecessary and potentially dangerous radiation, been groped as is we are all convicted felons, and have all our possessions scrutinized but it is hardly the worst part of the fear machine.

  1. c4rlob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 05-21-09

    I don't know which behavior was more shameful...
    I don't care what people say about the TSA, these are low-paid employees (with a larger percentage of minorities than most workforces) in an already precarious and messy system. So of course a news network would go and plant the most desired high-end electronic device on the planet to tempt their ethics – because this is America! and we love seeing the 10% worst of people despite the other 90%.

  1. JackWebb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-31-07

    I can't find anyway to find sympathy or make excuses for this. I can't understand the comments here trying to legitimize this. And to blame the spouse? Ouch. ABC is doing a good service as long as they are singling-out certain kinds of corruption.

  1. mr100percent

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 12-06-99

    Salsa, that is incorrect. The TSA was created after a post-9/11 debate on whether all airport screeners should be federal employees or not. The government decided yes, they should be, but then turned the existing screeners into federal employees. Some change. They weren't allowed to unionize until after 2007.

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