In the last two months, two U.S. Transportation Security Administration officers have been arrested on suspicion of stealing from passenger luggage at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) -- incidents that leave me worrying about how often such theft happens. Judging from official statistics, it seems rare -- or maybe the culprits just don't get caught very often.
On Thursday, TSA officer Paul Yashou, 37, was arrested on suspicion of taking $30,000 worth of items from suitcases at the airport, according to this Daily Breeze story, which also said that a police search of Yashou's home turned up "numerous items belonging to LAX passengers."
TSA spokesman Nico Melendez said Yashou worked at Terminal 1, where the baggage screening area is in a very public lobby area near ticketing counters. (Side note: Having flown out of Terminal 1 many times, I wonder how the alleged pilfering could take place out of view of other TSA staffers or even passers-by. Melendez said he didn't know either.)
Melendez declined to comment on Yashou's status with the agency because it's a pending personnel matter. He did say, however, that the TSA generally places officers suspected of stealing on "indefinite suspension" as a step prior to firing.