TSA officer and wife arrested in iPad thefts
MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (WSVN) -- Police have arrested a TSA officer and his wife after authorities said they stole then tried to sell two iPads from a passenger's luggage.
The victim, Steve, said he departed from Miami International Airport and traveled on a cross-country Christmas flight, when he discovered some very important items were missing from his luggage. "My gifts were outside the box, and we had gift wrapping torn everywhere," said Steve.
Steve was missing two brand-new iPad 3Gs he had purchased for his brother and sister. Steve said he reluctantly packed the wrapped iPads in a brown bag, then he put the brown bag inside another suitcase and checked his luggage at the American Airlines counter. "I trusted the system, that they would take care of my bags," he said.
However, Steve did not realize the electronics were gone until he arrived home in Los Angeles. "As I was re-wrapping the gifts, I opened up the iPad box," Steve said, "and I noticed that the iPads were missing."
The iPad chargers remained in the boxes, however. Steve said, "You just don't go through someone else's luggage and take whatever you want to take. It's not like a free-for-all, you know?"
On Thursday, Miami-Dade detectives arrested the alleged thief, TSA officer Michael Pujol, along with his wife Betsy.
Pujol told police he slid the iPads inside a secret pocket in his uniform.
According to police, Betsy took the goods her husband stole and put them up for sale on Craigslist, where police caught it. "The buyer then gave information [about] whom he received it from, and they traced it back," Steve said.
TSA released the following statement: "TSA holds its security officers to the highest professional and ethical standards and has a zero tolerance policy for theft in the workplace. Allegations of misconduct and theft are aggressively investigated and swift action is taken to end the federal careers of offenders."
Authorities managed to return one of the stolen iPads to Steve. "This is the iPad that he returned back. He said, 'I'm still working on the other one, but there's going to be an arrest that's going to be made,'" Steve said.
Travelers like Degennes Ford say you have to be careful when traveling with valuable luggage. "If you want to be safe, ship your luggage ahead," Ford said, "and that's exactly what I did."
Both Pujol and his wife have bonded out of the Miami-Dade County Jail. 7News tried to contact them for comment, but the couple was not at their Homestead home at the time.
Pujol is no longer working at MIA. Miami-Dade Police are hoping to recover the second iPad.
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