Recent TSA Arrest at LAX Continues Theft Trend

Thefts by TSA agents at airports around the country seem to be monthly stories.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    File Photo: Passengers go through extra security at the San Francisco International Airport on July 3, 2007.

    Another Transportation Security Administration worker was arrested Thursday at Los Angeles International Airport on suspicion of stealing items from passengers’ bags, police said.

    Members of a task force investigating thefts at the airport arrested Paul Yashou, 37, said Officer Bruce Borihanh of the Los Angeles Police Department.

    Yashou allegedly operated out of Terminal 1 at LAX. That's the first terminal most people see when they drive into the airport, and the home to one of its busiest carriers, Southwest Airlines.

    The TSA encouraged anyone who thinks they have been victimized to make a claim at the TSA Web site.

    TSA Employee at LAX is Charged with Burglary

    [LA] TSA Employee at LAX is Charged with Burglary
    The TSA says this has happened nearly 500 times before. But considering how many people work for the agency, it's rare.

    TSA Los Angeles International Airport Federal Security Director Randy Parsons said the department continues to fight against the ongoing problem.

    "TSA has a zero tolerance for theft and will work with authorities to hold our employees accountable," he said after Yashou’s arrest. "TSA will assist in prosecuting any employee caught violating the public trust to the fullest extent of the law."

    Yashou is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.

    TSA Agents Charged With Theft

    Yashou's arrest continues what is becoming a seemingly regular occurrence of theft related problems plaguing TSA.

    A week before Yashou was collared, police arrested 49-year-old security agent Karla Morgan at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

    Morgan was caught in a sting operation in which an undercover officer gave her a wallet he said he had found with $1,000 inside. Morgan put the wallet in her backpack and walked out of the airport. Officers arrested her in a parking lot, according to local news stations.

    Though it did not mention theft, on June 10, TSA released a statement announcing that it had identified 30 employees at the Honolulu International Airport for potential termination "following an extensive investigation into allegations of improper screening of checked baggage."

    In May, 31-year-old TSA officer Ryan Driscoll was arrested at LAX for allegedly stealing from a traveler’s suitcase.

    And again in February, two agents at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport were accused of stealing $40,000 cash from a passenger’s bag. The pair was charged with grand larceny, possession of stolen property and official misconduct. If convicted, they face up to seven years in jail.

    Police said Davon Webb, 30 and Persad Coumar, 44, also confessed to other thefts that could total more than an additional $160,000, according to Reuters.

    Going back even further, in 2009 former TSA baggage screener Pythias Brown, 47, plead guilty of stealing more than 100 items worth a total of between $200,000 and $400,000 between 2007 and 2008, authorities told the Newark Star-Ledger.

    Brown sold the goods on eBay, which is how authorities tracked him down.