Stolen Boarding Pass At Airport In Utah: Sex Offender Fools TSA
A stolen boarding pass made it possible for a 61-year-old registered sex offender almost to check into a flight unnoticed by TSA agents. Michael Salata, who found the boarding pass left behind by a Southwest Airline passenger, was arrested.
According to Utah police, a registered sex offender used a stolen boarding pass and attempted to get on a flight heading to California, and he was arrested before takeoff. On November 5, Michael Salata was at the Salt Lake City International Airport, (it is not known why he was at the airport), where he discovered a boarding pass that was accidentally left behind at a Southwest Airlines kiosk.
Michael Reith Salata managed to get through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint, but was caught as he tried to board the flight heading to Oakland, California. While at the gate, the man lied and told airport workers that he had mistakenly picked up the wrong boarding pass. Salt Lake Airport Police Chief Craig Vargo explained how Salata was apprehended:
“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, (something) to that effect.”
The woman, whose boarding pass was misplaced, was able to get on the plane using a replacement ticket uploaded on her phone. The crazy part of this story is that she stood in line just inches away from Salata to board the airplane, unaware of the incident.
Vargo, who has been working at the airport for the past 25 years, said it was the first time an incident like this has occurred. The law enforcer said:
“We have a very good working relationship with TSA. Unfortunately, I think a human element (is to blame). Individuals make mistakes, but luckily we do have a layered approach and multiple people out here looking for things.”
TSA spokeswoman Lori Dankers issued a statement insisting that aside from the identification mistake, Salata was properly screened by their workers. She stated:
“We are aware of the incident. … Our TSA agent made a mistake to properly identify the individual. However, there are multiple layers of security in place. … Both the ticketed passenger and the other individual were fully screened.”
Southwest sang the same tune and said its employees followed protocol. The TSA nor Southwest have plans to discipline their staff members for the error. Travel experts say when traveling remember to carry all documents in the safest possible place, which is on you.
That place is not in the hand, or in the carry-on bag or purse. It is directly on your person, either in an inside pocket, or in a hidden document carrier worn underneath your clothing. Such carriers are available where travel products are sold. Getting used to wearing one may take a few hours, but it’s well worth the trouble, if it saves you the loss of an entire air ticket.
What are thoughts on the stolen boarding pass incident? Did airport officials react the proper way?