After filing a Freedom of Information request with the Transportation Security Administration, ABC News was given a list of the top 20 airports where theft by TSA employees has been reported, finding that “many of the country’s busiest airports also rank at the top for TSA employees fired for theft,” and that “Sixteen of the top 20 airports for theft firings are also in the top 20 airports in terms of passengers passing through.”
The following is the top 20 list, published on Tuesday. The numbers in parentheses represent the number of TSA employees fired.
1. Miami International Airport (29)
2. JFK International Airport (27)
3. Los Angeles International Airport (24)
4. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (17)
5. Las Vegas-McCarren International Airport (15)
6. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and New York-Laguardia Airport (14 each)
8. Newark Liberty, Philadelphia International, and Seattle-Tacoma International airports (12 each)
11. Orlando International Airport (11)
12. Houston-George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport (10 each)
14. Washington Dulles International Airport (9)
15.Detroit Metro Airport and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (7)
17.Boston-Logan International, Denver International and San Diego International airports (6)
20.Chicago O’Hare International Airport (5)
Last month, ABC News did an investigation of the TSA, leaving iPads at different TSA security checkpoints in airports throughout the country where high amounts of theft had been reported. Though employees at nine out of ten of the airports followed proper procedure and contacted the number that had been placed on the iPad, at an airport in Orlando, it disappeared. Two weeks later, employees for ABC News tracked the iPad to the house of TSA worker Andy Ramirez, who initially denied having it. The ABC News employees then activated the iPad’s tracker alarm, which indicated that it was in Ramirez’s home. Ramirez then blamed his wife for the theft.
During the investigation, ABC News found that 381 TSA employees have been fired for theft between 2003 and 2012, with 11 this year.
Former TSA employee Pythias Brown, who spent three years in prison for stealing up to $800,000 from passengers at Newark International, told ABC News that stealing “was very commonplace, very,” adding:
It was very convenient to steal… [TSA agents] didn’t think it was okay, but they did it and said, ‘I don’t care. They ain’t paying me. They’re treating me wrong.’ But when people started seeing they could profit off of it, then it became massive.
TSA employees have been caught committing various other crimes besides theft, such as drug smuggling, rape and sex with a minor.