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Another day, another sticky-fingered Transportation Security Administration agent caught stealing from airline passengers: According to the Associated Press, 31-year-old Alexandra Schmid, a TSA screener at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, allegedly helped herself to a cool $5,000 from a passenger’s jacket as it passed along an X-ray conveyor belt on February 1. The passenger, a native of Bangladesh, noticed the money was missing as soon as he retrieved his jacket, at which point he reported the theft.
According to Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and the New Jersey police force, “surveillance video showed Schmid taking the money from a jacket pocket, wrapping the cash in a plastic glove and taking it to a bathroom,” the AP writes. The money has not yet been recovered; Schmid is suspected of having passed it on to someone else in the bathroom.
Brooklyn resident Schmid was arrested on a charge of grand larceny. She has been suspended from her job with the TSA, which she had held down for four-and-a-half years, while an investigation takes place.
With any luck, Schmid, if found guilty, will get the same favorable treatment meted out to two other JFK screeners who were caught red-handed. Those men, Coumar Persad and Davon Webb, pleaded guilty to stealing $40,000 from a passenger’s checked luggage and on January 10 were sentenced to six months in jail and five years’ probation – “a sentence that falls on the border with a misdemeanor,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley observed in astonishment.
Following Schmid’s arrest, TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein hastened to assure concerned travelers: “The actions of a few individuals in no way reflect on the outstanding job our 50,000 security officers do every day.”
Michael Tennant [send him mail] is a software developer and freelance writer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.