How many strikes does it take before the Transportation Security Administration eliminates a bad apple from its ranks? Perhaps the story of baggage inspector Reggie Edwards will provide some light on the topic.
Station WSOC-TV in Charlotte, N.C., reports that Edwards was arrested on Thursday for stealing cash from a passenger’s luggage at Charlotte Douglas Airport.
Reporters interviewed the victim, Nancy Turner, who told them:
I was shocked. I have always traveled like this. Not to carry a lot on me, and just to put it deep inside my luggage and it’s never been bothered and my luggage has been inspected a number of times.
Maybe Turner would have been less shocked had she known that Edwards was arrested for precisely the same crime several weeks ago, when police nabbed him for boosting $150 from a suitcase. On the other hand, she might have been more shocked – certainly galled – to discover that a known thief was still under the TSA’s employ after his initial run-in with the law.
It’s hard to imagine that the TSA is so hard up for honest employees that it can’t afford to fire Reggie Edwards. Then again, theft among TSA officers is so rampant that the agency appears to have become a job magnet for wannabe and career thieves.
The TSA blog reports that the robberies committed by its employees are few and far between, amounting to less than half of one percent of all hires. But independent investigators told CBS New York in March 2012 that 200 thefts occur each day at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport alone.
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