NEW YORK (AP) – Police say a Transportation Security Administration agent stole $5,000 in cash from a passenger’s jacket as he was going through security at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the latest in a string of thefts that has embarrassed the agency.
Alexandra Schmid took the cash from the jacket of a Bangladeshi passenger as it went along an X-ray conveyor belt at around 8 p.m. Wednesday, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s police force.
“In viewing the surveillance video, we observed her removing the currency from the victim’s jacket pocket,” Della Fave said.
The video showed Schmid wrapping the money in a plastic glove and taking it to a bathroom, he said.
The money hasn’t been recovered, Della Fave said. Police are investigating whether Schmid gave it to another person in the bathroom.
The 31-year-old Schmid was arrested on a charge of grand larceny and suspended pending an investigation. Her attorney’s name wasn’t immediately known.
Schmid, who lived in Brooklyn, had worked for the TSA for 4 1/2 years, TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.
“We do hold our officers to very high standards, and we have a zero tolerance policy for theft in the workplace,” Farbstein said.
It’s the latest in a series of recent theft allegations against TSA employees:
_ Last month, an agent who worked searching checked luggage at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was suspended after the owner of a stolen iPad used the tracking feature on the device to locate it at the agent’s home. Police found seven other iPads there.
_ Also in January, authorities charged an agent at Miami International Airport with swiping items and luggage and smuggling them out of the airport in a hidden pocket of his work jacket. He was arrested after one of the items, an iPad, was spotted for sale on Craigslist.
_ Two other former TSA agents at JFK were sentenced on Jan. 10 to six months in jail and five years’ probation for stealing $40,000 from a piece of luggage in January 2011. The agents, Coumar Persad and Davon Webb, had pleaded guilty to grand larceny, obstructing governmental administration and official misconduct.
_ Last year, a TSA supervisor and one of his officers pleaded guilty in a scheme that lifted $10,000 to $30,000 from passengers’ belongings at Newark Liberty International Airport. A federal judge sentenced the supervisor, Michael Arato, to 2 1/2 years in prison and his subordinate, Al Raimi, to six months of home confinement.
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