TSA worker accused of swiping $22,000 in watches from travelers’ luggage
By Joy Jernigan, senior travel editor
A Transportation Security Administration officer has been accused of stealing $22,000 worth of watches from passengers’ luggage at Los Angeles International Airport.
According to the Los Angeles Times, TSA officer Paul Yashou was arrested last month after a $15,000 IWC GST watch he allegedly swiped and sold to a jewelry store was listed for sale on eBay. The owner of the pricey timepiece noticed it on the website and alerted authorities, prompting an investigation.
In addition to the watch, Yashou, 38, of Torrance, Calif., also was indicted by a federal grand jury Friday for allegedly stealing a $5,000 Breitling Crosswind watch, a $1,000 Antima watch, a $1,000 Movado watch, and a $1,000 pre-paid debit card. He is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 3.
In a statement, the TSA said it has a “zero tolerance policy for theft in the workplace.
“The disgraceful actions of a few should not reflect negatively on the approximately 50,000 TSA officers across the country who work each day to keep the traveling public safe. TSA will continue to work closely with law enforcement authorities and will move swiftly and decisively to end the federal careers of any employee who engages in illegal activity on the job.”
This is not the first time a TSA agent has been charged with pilfering passengers’ belongings. Last month, a former security supervisor at Newark Liberty International Airport was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison in a scheme to steal cash from travelers’ luggage. Also in June, a former TSA worker was accused of stealing laptops from checked luggage at Orlando International Airport in Florida.
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