Convicted TSA Agent Who Stole More than $800K Worth of Goods from Passengers Says Stealing from Bags Is ‘Very’ Common

Victoria Cavaliere, NY Daily News, September 29, 2012

A former TSA agent who spent three years in prison for stealing from passengers’ luggage says the practice is “commonplace.”

Pythias Brown admits to stealing more than $800,000 worth of cash, clothing and electronics over a four-year period at Newark Liberty International Airport. He was finally caught trying to sell a stolen CNN camera on eBay.

Pythias Brown

“It became so easy, I got complacent,” Brown told ABC News.

Though Brown says he might have been one of the biggest thieves at the Transportation Security Administration, he believes the agency has a culture of entitlement—and of looking the other way.

“It was so easy. One day I walked out of there with the video game, the Nintendo Wii. I walked right out of the checkpoint with the Nintendo Wii in my hand,” he said.


Nearly 400 TSA officers have been fired for stealing since 2003, according to the agency, which is charged with providing security for passengers and freight.

But Brown says the fired TSA officers might be the tip of the iceberg.

Theft “was very commonplace. Very,” he said.


He said most of the valuable items are taken out of carry-on bags that pass through screenings and X-ray machines while their owners make their way through security checkpoints and metal detectors.



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  • Puggg

    Duh, affirmative action in hiring.

    A Hispanic TSA agent in Florida was caught stealing passengers’ phones and pods and pads.

    I hear it said that we shouldn’t be worried about TSA abuses, and instead we should be worried about race.  Because we don’t have to fly.  And also…let ’em eat cake.  Too, TSA seems to be more an Alex Jones thing than our thing.

    Well, it’s racial and therefore our thing now.

  • Detroit_WASP

    Tried to sell a stolen CNN camera?  I’ll bet CNN didn’t even report this story….but FOX News did!  lol

  • JackKrak

    This will come as no surprise to anyone who has been in an airport in the last ten years. With apologies to the many exceptions, the caliber of people they manage to find for airport “security” is shocking. But the number of LaShawnas, Robertos, D’Antrelles etc. present among them tells me that the usual rules of recruitment, training and accountability in private sector employment do not apply here.

    • bubo

      No doubt.   It’s a jobs program for unemployable minorities.   

      Me and my friend, both college educated white guys needed jobs in 2002.  We went to a TSA job fair and went through the tests.  I was told that I had failed outright.  I asked what specifically I had failed, I knew it wasn’t the multi answer written test as it was on perhaps a 10th grade level.  I was told they couldn’t tell me because of security concerns.   My friend got through to the next phase, but was never called or contacted afterward.  

      I also saw they had a separate line dedicated to all the Shanequa’s and Jae’von’s that had previous “airport security” jobs.  They were pushed through to the final interview and hired on the spot.  

      That’s when I knew the entire thing was a scam. 

  • I assure you this is the “tip of the iceberg”. While 400 have been fired since 2003, all of those had to be as dumb and as complacent as Mr. Brown.  How many more are using stealth and discretion?  Most of these civil service, unionized, affirmative action types look at their jobs as an entrepreneurial opportunity. Instead of doing their assigned tasks they are looking for ways to get back at the man and put a little extra spending change in their pockets. If this one dummy can walk away with $800k, what are the smarter ones getting away with? Can’t wait until Governement is running healthcare, you think there will be any fraud, waste, corruption and abuse there?

  • Dan Reardon

    I’ve flown a half dozen times over the last two years and just about every airport I’ve visited looks like some village in Zimbabwe. I’m surprised planes haven’t started falling out of the sky.

  • anmpr1

    The ones in the front are mostly overweight minority women, many who can’t seem to speak much English, but sure know how to grab your privates.  The ones in the back are minority men rifling through luggage in order to see what they can steal.  Maybe its time to rethink Greyhound.

  • So who is surprised by this “revelation?” The TSA is nothing more than another
    federal welfare to work program for people that would never be hired in the
    private sector. It goes for US Customs as well. I see this diverse agency in action
    everyday; the substantial majority of them are ALL minorities and females.

  • Barrack Osama

    Non-sociopathic, normal human beings with a conscience need rationalizations to steal. “He’s rich, he doesn’t need it” or “I need this or I’ll starve to death tonight”. When you live in a balkanized mishmash of racial groups and incompatible cultures loosely held together by governmental forces, there’s no trust, no kinship, no feeling that you’re part of a family of people bound by blood. In this environment, rationalizations to commit crimes flow easily.

    Then you have the people who don’t feel any of that anyway.

  • I never understood why people put valuables in checked luggage.  My attitude has always been if it’s something you’d really miss, then it better go in with your carry-on.  Yeah, in a perfect world, we would not need to worry about stuff being stolen by airport employees.  And in a perfect world I should be able to walk into a “diverse” neighborhood with $100 bills stuffed down the front of my pants and nobody would rob me.  But the world don’t run on dreams and unicorn flatulence.  Instead, we should accept the reality that occurs when we use airport security as an affirmitive action hiring program, putting people who should not be trusted with a gravy ladle in charge of our safety.  They’ll miss a knife in somebody’s carry on bag, but man are they good at hunting down that I-pad you put in your checked bag.

    •  Except that the article says most of the theft is from carry-on baggage at the check point.

  • Major

    Newark…it figures….home of the original PM’s if there ever was one. One of the crappiest, run down airports in the country. ( Not counting downtown Detroit …an absolute slum) Thank God all the ATC guys are…yep…..White.

    How do I know? I have an a brother who’s an ATC specialist in the NY TRACON….and who knows the reality of EWR. Nuff said.

  • skara_brae

    Slightly off topic but kindly indulge me. I receive mail from many parts of the world. Beginning ten or so years ago every Christmas card from the USA arrives already opened. Every single one. We encounter this problem with no other country of origin. I wonder why?

    • Helena_Handbasket

      I have heard the same from friends overseas, when they receive mail from our friends here in America. It reminds me very much of what my 6th grade teacher told us about how her letters from family in Soviet Russia would arrive opened.

  • Shawn_thefemale

    The likes of ‘Pythias’   (dear God, seriously???), and the absurdity of legal sexual molestation in the the name of security while  a the same time the borders are porous enough to sail an oceanliner through are exactly why this female refuses to fly any longer.

    • Helena_Handbasket

      Yes, seriously, on Pythias. It’s an ancient name with huge mythological significance. I think that you’ll find that while classical greek names aren’t making the top baby name lists… they aren’t exactly freakishly rare or without precedent..

      With all the serious problems the TSA presents, do you think maybe we could focus on something other than how we feel about peoples names? It diminishes the point of the real problems, by making your complaints look shallow and based on ignorance.

  • Ni66ers and spicks have a problem with “thats not yours”. 

  • Helena_Handbasket

    You are a comedic genius on the level of Christwire.

  • Helena_Handbasket

    Okay, I’ll ignore they myriad of logical fallacies and insane statements in your post… and just ask this.

    How, in any way, shape, or form, is this screed related to the article?

  • Helena_Handbasket

    More mid 20th century German, to me… soviets had their own fun catch phrases, though.