Stolen pass fools TSA: Stolen Boarding Pass

Published: November 26, 2015

Stolen pass fools TSA: Stolen Boarding Pass, A man with a stolen boarding pass got through airport security in Salt Lake City and checked in at a gate for a flight to California before he was caught earlier this month, authorities have disclosed.

The news came on a Thanksgiving weekend affected by increased security measures around major transport hubs, in light of the terror attacks in Paris in which 130 people were killed and hundreds more injured. President Barack Obama has sought to reassure Americans by saying authorities are equipped to prevent attacks in the US.

Michael Salata, 61, was arrested on 5 November, shortly after checking into a Southwest Airlines flight to Oakland, the Deseret News reported on Wednesday.

Salata, who is on the sex offender registry in Utah, grabbed a boarding pass that a woman accidentally left at a check-in kiosk and used it to get through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint, said Craig Vargo, chief of airport police.

“He tried to make it seem like it was a mistake, that the boarding pass printed incorrectly, or that he grabbed the wrong boarding pass,” Vargo told the newspaper.

It was unclear why the incident was first disclosed 20 days after it happened. The day after Salata got through security in Utah, TSA officials in Washington announced enhanced security for certain inbound international flights in response to an explosion aboard a Russian passenger jet after takeoff from Egypt.

Salata was detained when the woman who had left the pass checked in using a replacement ticket that had been uploaded to her phone.

TSA spokeswoman Lori Dankers said an agent made a mistake in identifying Salata, but the man was properly screened to determine if he was carrying anything dangerous.

“There are multiple layers of security in place,” Dankers said in an email to the newspaper. She declined to say whether anyone has been disciplined and did not immediately return calls.

Southwest spokeswoman Brandy King said the airline relies on TSA to verify boarding passes and identification, and the airline’s systems worked properly by flagging a boarding pass that already had been scanned and identifying a passenger who didn’t belong on the flight.

It was not clear why Salata allegedly grabbed the boarding pass or why he wanted to get on the flight. Court records show he was cited for trespassing by police at the University of Utah twice in recent weeks – once before and once after the airport incident.

Vargo says Salata was now being investigated for felony fraudulent handling of a legal document. Salata was placed on the sex offender registry in 2012, after he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of lewdness involving a child.


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