Sunday, February 14, 2016

TSA workers pulled drug prank twice with air passengers

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Travelers check in at the Philadelphia International Airport in this August 2010 photo. (Ron Cortes/Staff)
Travelers check in at the Philadelphia International Airport in this August 2010 photo. (Ron Cortes/Staff)

A Transportation Security Administration worker who pretended to find drugs in a passenger's bag at Philadelphia International Airport in January had played the prank more than once and told one of his victims that "she would have to admit it was funny," according to TSA documents.

The documents, which detail the dopey antics of a bomb-appraisal officer whose name has been blacked out, were released on the Smoking Gun website this week.

The Inquirer broke the story of Rebecca Solomon, 22, who on Jan. 5 became the unsuspecting butt of the officer's joke when he pretended to find a white, powdery substance in her luggage.

Turns out, Solomon was the second traveler that day to be victimized by the worker's bad sense of humor. The first, according to the documents, laughed the stunt off.

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The TSA officer was supposed to be checking equipment instead of passengers, the documents said, and the white substance he had with him was creatine powder, not cocaine.

When he tried to trick his second victim, presumably Solomon, with the creatine, she did not take it well.

When the worker saw she was getting upset, he revealed the truth and told her that "she would have to admit it was funny," the documents said.

When confronted later by a TSA investigator, the officer "did say humbly that he was completely wrong and he made a mistake," the documents said.

Reports by other TSA staff indicate that at least one of them saw the prank and "resumed running the X-ray belt." Another only went as far as to tell the officer, "Don't do that."

The worker is no longer with TSA, but whether his departure was forced or voluntary could not be determined because of privacy laws.

farrs@phillynews.com 215-854-4225
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