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Is that an iPad in their pants or is the TSA just happy to see us?

It happens every day. You amble up to the TSA security checkpoint, and with the customer service touch of gulag overlords, the TSA officers slowly herd you through to freedom on the other side. They stare you down with steely eyes, inspect your ID with hawkish intensity, berate you for forgetting the hand sanitizer in the deepest recesses of your backpack, and apparently, occasionally stuff your electronics into their pants.

That is what one Florida TSA agent is guilty of - stuffing items of material worth into his TSA-issued pants. Nelson Santiago had all but perfected the art of the security checkpoint heist. He would pilfer items out of screened luggage such as GPS units, tablets, laptops, video cameras and more. He would take pictures of his loot (probably with a stolen camera) and immediately post the stolen goods online to sell. The goods would be turned around and sold before his shift even ended, making him a nimble bastard of the highest order.

And then one day, while casually stuffing a gleaming iPad into his pants, he was caught red-handed.
According to the Broward Palm Beach New Times, a Continental Airlines employee witnessed Santiago (left) as he pulled an iPad out of some poor sap's luggage and slid the tablet computing device into his pants. The authorities were alerted, and Nelson Santiago's reign as the "Thief of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport" was over. Charged with two counts of grand theft, Santiago was finally apprehended and taken into custody.

While his overall take is an estimated $50,000 in electronics, most of the goods will never be recovered. Santiago has worked at Terminal 1 of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport since 2009. I don't think he will be making it back to work any time soon.

Filed under: Stories, North America, United States, Airports, News

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