KHQ.COM - When traveling by plane, we all would like to assume that our travel bags are safe and secure and that when we get to our destination, all of our belongings will arrive with us. This may not be the case. 400 TSA employees have been fired for stealing from passengers and for the first time, the Transportation Security Administration is releasing the list of the airports where those employees worked in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Where did this happen? At many airports across the country and the highest theft levels occurred at some of the busiest and largest airports in the country. TSA employees stealing from passengers is not a new occurrence, it has been happening since 2002.
ABC news investigated the stealing by leaving behind ipads at security check points at ten airports across the country with a history of theft. An ipad left behind at the Orlando Airport was tracked to the home of a TSA employee 30 miles away. The employee, Andy Ramirez, at first denied taking the ipad but later handed it over saying his wife had taken it from the airport. Ramirez, of course, was fired.
The other nine ipads left behind were returned to ABC news.
29 employees were fired from Miami International Airport which topped the list at having the most problems with theft. New York's JFK international airport was number two on the list and fired 27 employees. Third was LA International with 24 firings.
The rest of the top 20 airports with reported issues with stealing are:
4. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, 17 thefts
5. Las Vegas-McCarren International Airport, 15 thefts
6. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, 14 thefts
6. New York-Laguardia Airport, 14 thefts
8. Newark Liberty Airport in New Jersey, 12 thefts
8. Philadelphia International Airport, 12 thefts
8. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, 12 thefts
11. Orlando International Airport, 11 thefts
12. Houston-George Bush INtercontinental Airport, 10 thefts
12. Salt Lake City International Airport, 10 thefts
14. Washington Dulles International Airport, 9 thefts
15. Detroit Metro Airport, 7 thefts
15. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, 7 thefts
17. Boston-Logan International Airport, 6 thefts
17. Denver International Airport, 6 thefts
17. San Diego International Airport, 6 thefts
20. Chicago O'Hare International Airport, 5 thefts.
While not all of the stealing has occurred from TSA employees actually opening up passenger bags, one way to protect yourself is to lock your luggage. Even with the heightened security at airports, passengers are still allowed to lock their bags. All bags are screened and if is it determined that your bag needs to be physically inspected, TSA employees can break your lock and will then leave a notice in the bag that it was inspected.
This story was filed and written by KHQ's Nichole Mischke. Email her at Nichole.Mischke@khq.com.
What do you think?
Do you lock your luggage when you travel?
Have you ever been a victim to theft while traveling?