iPads Continue To Vanish At The Airport Thanks To Thieving TSA Officers

iPads Continue To Vanish At The Airport Thanks To Thieving TSA Officers

Was your iPad mini stolen at JFK airport? Sean Henry might have it.

A TSA agent caught stealing iPads and numerous other electronic devices was arrested this week following a sting operation at New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport. Sean Henry, 32, joins the growing list of TSA workers who have been accused of stealing from passengers as they pass through airport checkpoints across the United States.

Henry’s arrest follows an ABC News investigation carried out back in September, which revealed that 381 TSA officers had been fired for theft since 2003. Henry will be the latest, after Transportation Security Administration spokesman David Castelveter confirmed that the TSA has “taken the steps to begin processing [Henry] for termination.”

“TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace,” Castelveter added in a statement.

Apple’s iOS devices — the iPad, in particular — appear to be a popular target for some TSA agents, who believe it’s okay to take passengers’ belongings home with them. Unfortunately for them, they’re also the easiest to track. Using Apple’s free Find My iPad feature, owners can locate their missing devices using a free iOS app, or in a web browser on any computer.

During its investigation, ABC News purposely left behind iPads at several airport checkpoints throughout the U.S. in an effort to discover whether all would be returned. Nine of the ten were, but one, which was left behind in Orlando, Florida, ended up at the home of TSA officer Andy Ramirez. Ramirez was later fired for the theft.

Port Authority spokesman Steve Colman told ABC that they’re stepped up their sting investigations in response to the investigation, and as a result of more complaints from passengers who have had possessions stolen at the airport. “These sting operations have been growing out there to try to curb this level of luggage theft, especially as the Christmas holidays are approaching,” Coleman said.

Clearly they are working, but that’s exactly how Henry was caught. Officers used the Find My iPad feature to track the two devices that had been intentionally left behind, and they found them with Henry as they left JFK on the airport’s AirTrain system. And that’s not all Henry was carrying.

In Henry’s backpack, investigators found a MacBook Pro, a pair of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones — still boxed, an iPad mini, an iPod, and an iPhone. A subsequent search of his home also uncovered a stolen MacBook. Needless to say Henry was charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property.

  • craigburdett

    Seriously – what do we expect? Most TSA ‘officers’ were unemployed/unemployable before the US created the now-bloated organization (as a knee-jerk police-state reaction). As it is for most uneducated workers the pay is abysmal and recruitment is done primarily at the same places the military does their recruiting: underperforming schools. Seriously there are no education requirements listed on the TSA website for the folks who go through your bags.

    OK. Let the bashing of the guy who said what everyone was thinking begin.

  • extra_medium

    Do we get to hear about the good employees who returned the goods or just the ones that fell into the clever news teams’ trap? No doubt this guy is a theif who deserves to be punished, but reporters who seek to create news stories by setting them up piss me off almost as much.

  • Bob Forsberg

    A product of the government public education schools and “Occupy” people who believes he deserves it.

  • craigburdett

    Do we get to hear about the good employees who returned the goods or just the ones that fell into the clever news teams’ trap? No doubt this guy is a theif who deserves to be punished, but reporters who seek to create news stories by setting them up piss me off almost as much.

    Thousands of people each day pass through airport security and are required to empty all electronics from their bags. Every person. Every time. Every gadget. The news team did the same thing anyone else would do. They dumped their crap into a plastic bin and then watched it pass into conveyor purgatory. There was no bait. If this guy hadn’t made a conscious decision to take the property of someone else he would be frisking toddlers today. Henry was stealing stuff long before a news crew showed up to “bait” him. But, we can count on someone to blame a news crew, Henry’s upbringing, his poor family life, or his low wages as the impetus for Henry to steal high value electronics. Don’t be naive: Henry wasn’t stealing food because he was hungry. Henry is not a victim. Henry is a criminal.

  • HerbalEd

    A_shole!

  • HerbalEd
    Do we get to hear about the good employees who returned the goods or just the ones that fell into the clever news teams’ trap? No doubt this guy is a theif who deserves to be punished, but reporters who seek to create news stories by setting them up piss me off almost as much.

    Thousands of people each day pass through airport security and are required to empty all electronics from their bags. Every person. Every time. Every gadget. The news team did the same thing anyone else would do. They dumped their crap into a plastic bin and then watched it pass into conveyor purgatory. There was no bait. If this guy hadn’t made a conscious decision to take the property of someone else he would be frisking toddlers today. Henry was stealing stuff long before a news crew showed up to “bait” him. But, we can count on someone to blame a news crew, Henry’s upbringing, his poor family life, or his low wages as the impetus for Henry to steal high value electronics. Don’t be naive: Henry wasn’t stealing food because he was hungry. Henry is not a victim. Henry is a criminal.

    By no means is “every gadget” required to be shown. If you want to sound credible, then don’t exaggerate.

  • HerbalEd

    Seriously – what do we expect? Most TSA ‘officers’ were unemployed/unemployable before the US created the now-bloated organization (as a knee-jerk police-state reaction). As it is for most uneducated workers the pay is abysmal and recruitment is done primarily at the same places the military does their recruiting: underperforming schools. Seriously there are no education requirements listed on the TSA website for the folks who go through your bags.

    OK. Let the bashing of the guy who said what everyone was thinking begin.

    Even if everything you say is true … which it isn’t … do you really think that’s justification for them stealing?

  • cultofmacdaddy

    Good for nothing you know

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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