Imagine my surprise to learn that an agent of the federal government has admitted to stealing from unsuspecting citizens! Feigned gasp!
A former TSA agent who spent three years in prison for stealing from passengers’ luggage says the practice is “commonplace.”
Pythias Brown admits to stealing more than $800,000 worth of cash, clothing and electronics over a four-year period at Newark Liberty International Airport. He was finally caught trying to sell a stolen CNN camera on eBay.
“It became so easy, I got complacent,” Brown told ABC News.
Though Brown says he might have been one of the biggest thieves at the Transportation Security Administration, he believes the agency has a culture of entitlement — and of looking the other way.
“It was so easy. One day I walked out of there with the video game, the Nintendo Wii. I walked right out of the checkpoint with the Nintendo Wii in my hand,” he said.
TSA agents on the take justify their actions, he explained.
“They aren’t paying me, they’re treating me wrong. They’re doing this and they’re doing that. And they just don’t care,” he said of some of his former colleagues.
Almost 400 agents have been fired for theft since 2003.
Critics of the TSA say the alleged culture of theft comes as little surprise.
“TSA is probably the worst personnel manager that we have in the entire federal government,” Rep. John Mica, a Florida Republican and chairman of the House Transportation Committee, told ABC.
Well, if a congressman can’t recognize the rankest kind of pilfery… Who has his hand in your pockets more than an elected official of the federal government? No one, unless it’s an elected official from California. Or my uncle from Beachwood. But that’s another story.
I suggest you follow my lead. First off, all my carry-on luggage is locked and wrapped securely in fluorescent duct tape, with “Radioactive” stickers placed prominently on all sides. An exhaustive list of all contents is polybagged with each suitcase, along with pictures of the agents handling the bags, which I snap with my cellphone at check-in and slide beneath the transparency so I can identify the plunderers.
Next, after dropping my wallet, keys, loose change, sphygmomanometer, compass, flares, nitroglycerin tablets and other chewables, nunchaku, and St. Christopher’s medal* into the plastic receptacle that is then conveyed through X-ray, I step back, open my jacket to reveal several binders of C4 strapped to my chest (but over my Capt. America Underoos), and announce in a loud voice that I am prepared to blow myself to the hell of psoriatic census takers if so much as a blue M&M** is missing from among my personal belongings.
Works like a charm. Have yet to lose a single item. I’ve never managed to board a plane, but you pay a price no matter what you do.
*Lest my Reformation-minded readers gasp, I have found that such amulets, when filed into irregular shapes, make keen throwing darts, like Chinese stars. St. Clair is particularly good for aiming at the eyes. Don’t know why.
**Did you know that the dye used in making blue M&Ms is useful in reducing spinal injuries? Junk food? I think not.