Between airline employees and the Transportation Security Administration, it seems iPads don’t have a chance these days. Following on the heels of a iPad theft by a Horizon Air flight attendant last week, ABC News yesterday aired a report on another iPad stolen by a TSA screener at Orlando International Airport.
The first incident was successfully resolved due to a popular tracking app; the second was also recorded on video.
In what ABC News called the latest apparent case of what have been hundreds of thefts by TSA employees of passenger belongings, an iPad left at a security checkpoint was tracked as it moved 30 miles to the home of the TSA officer last seen handling it.
Confronted two weeks later by reporter Brian Ross, the TSA officer, Andy Ramirez, at first denied having the missing iPad, but ultimately turned it over after blaming his wife for taking it from the airport.
The iPad was one of ten purposely left behind at TSA checkpoints at major airports with a history of theft by government screeners, as part of an ABC News investigation into the TSA’s ongoing problem with theft from passengers.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” said Rep. John Mica, R.-Florida, chair of the House Transportation Committee and a frequent critic of TSA senior management. “It is an outrage to the public, and actually to our aviation system.”
The TSA said 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.”
According to the TSA, 381 TSA officers have been fired for theft between 2003 and 2012.
The agency disputes that theft is a widespread problem, however, saying the number of officers fired “represents less than one-half of one percent of officers that have been employed” by TSA.
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