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Crime Handhelds Transportation Apple

Off-Duty Police Officer Steals iPad From TSA Checkpoint 178

Posted by timothy
from the and-yet-people-are-still-ungrateful dept.
SpaceCadetTrav writes "A recent arrest report shows that an off-duty police officer from Fullerton, CA was arrested on felony grand theft charges for stealing an iPad at a TSA checkpoint in the Miami International Airport. The theft was captured on video surveillance last month and the officer was tracked down just before boarding her plane."
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Off-Duty Police Officer Steals iPad From TSA Checkpoint

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  • wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 25, 2011 @05:27PM (#36571748)

    Looks like she thought she was employed by the TSA.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Looks like she thought she was employed by the TSA.

      Cops vs Smurfs. Whoever loses, we win.

      On one hand, the only reason she was arrested is because TSOs aren't law enforcement officers. The blue wall of silence (standard practice whereby so-called "good cops" cover up for the misdeeds of bad cops) doesn't apply.

      On the other hand, part of me thinks the TSA just hates competition.

      On balance, good job, TSA. You've caught your first criminal in what, a decade? Congrats. Totally not worth the expense a

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      TSA agents were quoted as saying, "Stop right there, criminal scum!"

  • No surprise. Cops are people too, with all the usual failings.

    At least this bad cop was arrested instead of "protecting their own", but let's see how he is prosecuted.

    • So the real question is... why was she carrying a bag of chicken?
    • Re:A Surprise? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by causality (777677) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @06:14PM (#36572106)

      No surprise. Cops are people too, with all the usual failings.

      At least this bad cop was arrested instead of "protecting their own", but let's see how he is prosecuted.

      The fact that they are actually applying the law equally and not regarding the cop as above the law is the surprise.

      If only they'd prosecute police brutality, corruption, and intimidation (particularly of anyone with a camera) with such fervency. Then they might stop looking so much like the thugs they're supposed to protect us from.

      If that sounds too categorical, that's for a well-founded reason. The cops who don't abuse power themselves but keep silent when their co-workers do the same are equally guilty. They sometimes call it "the blue wall of silence". I call it the blue wall of cowardice. It is most unbecoming of such otherwise brave people.

      • Re:A Surprise? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 25, 2011 @07:16PM (#36572530)

        It's a cop from California who got caught doing the crime in Florida. That's why.

        The cover-their-own stuff happens in other cases because they broke the rules in their own district, thus it's their own department, staffed by their own co-workers, that has the authority to go after them. Yeah, it sounds like a massive ethics violation to me, too. IMO, when a cop is accused of something, it should be the next higher layer up in charge of the investigation (local cop? state investigation. state cop? federal investigation. federal cop? federal investigation from a different part of the country.) There's a reason people ask "who watches the watchers?".

    • by msobkow (48369)

      Another thieving thug with a badge. You're absolutely right -- no surprise.

    • by rtb61 (674572)

      You apparently do not pay attention to what you read, "off-duty Fullerton police officer" was arrested by "Miami police", so emphatically not one of their own, not even the same state.

    • ...Cops are people too, with all the usual failings.

      I disagree. Quality officers are supposed to be beyond the *usual* failings. It is quite clear than an officer who absconds with something feels differently about it than a civilian. The difference flows from their duty to honor. Low level officers who cannot maintain their duty are indeed people, sometimes nearing the limits of their capacity.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Cops are like lawyers -- the bad ones give the 1% of the good ones a bad name.

  • by retroworks (652802) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @05:34PM (#36571808) Homepage Journal
    I read the arresting officer's police report via the link. In case you don't intend to (it's kind of boring), I think the highlight is the statement that upon seeing the IPad in the TSA bin, that she placed her bag of chicken over it. Aside from that, I guess any story with the word "IPad" and a photo of Steve Jobs is sure to be interesting to someone. So off-duty-police crime + IPad and Steve Jobs + Bag of Chicken is the combination that makes this story "interesting".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Who takes a bag of chicken to the airport?
    • by hey! (33014)

      Well, I don't know if I'd call the story itself interesting, but it is candidate /. material on three points. (1) Slashdot readers do travel by air, probably with more tech bling than average, so this story could be a launching point for a discussion about protecting your geek toys. (2) Geeks enjoy a story that reminds them they're smarter than other classes of people, especially if that class *should* be screened for intelligence but isn't (e.g. cops). (3) People here seem to enjoy an NRA-style "cold-dead-

      • by Legion303 (97901)

        "especially if that class *should* be screened for intelligence but isn't (e.g. cops)"

        They are. Apparently if they've got too much of it, they don't get the job.

    • by twebb72 (903169)
      I had a cop search my car once -- I was in the wrong place at the wrong time (but minding my own business). I had nothing to hide so of course I said yes to the search.
      He finished the search after about 15 minutes, leaving the interior upside down, shoe prints all over the seats. At the time, I was going to the gym daily, and had taken off my mp3 player only an hour earlier and placed in my console to charge. I get back into the car, drive back home, go for my mp3 player and lo -- the cop absolutely swipe
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 25, 2011 @11:45PM (#36573946)

        I had nothing to hide so of course I said yes to the search.

        This was your first mistake.

      • by osgeek (239988)

        You were really in the right place at the right time... for the cop.

  • ObCaruzo (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Alex Belits (437) *

    So this time a watchman...

    (puts on the glasses) ..was watched.

    YEEEEEEAAAAHHHH!!!!

  • I'm inclined to believe that iPads are overpriced, but not to the extent that stealing one should qualify as grand theft. Did the owner have the "I Am Rich" app installed, or what am I missing?

  • by digitig (1056110) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @06:58PM (#36572366)
    Is this one of those places where we can expect to see the airport prosecuted for filming a police officer?
  • by Cylix (55374) * on Saturday June 25, 2011 @07:25PM (#36572592) Homepage Journal

    While checking through at the airport a few months back I was going through the standard scans. After placing my items in the bins (o so many bins, damn you electronic devices) I'm left to stand while they take a peek at my penis (to determine if it's worthy of flight).

    The agent nearby asks me to keep an eye on my items as they pass through. I suppose if I'm busy watching my things they are free to do other things (like giggle at my pictures). I thought it was kinda odd because who in the right mind would dare defy the TSA under their noses. Still, nearly 20 seconds after the agent mentions me watching my belongings some chick snatches my ipad out of the bin and proceeds to start to walk off. Unfortunately, I can't leave my position of shame and I keep raising my voice while repeatedly saying, "HEY LADY, THAT IS MY IPAD." Eventually, when about 3 or 4 people are staring her down she sets in back in the bin and states she thought it was hers. Ignoring the fact that it was crammed between three other bins that had my possessions and I don't recall her actually picking up an ipad from her newly radioactive items.

    In the end, I kept my things and the TSA laughed at my penis some more. Still, it's quite frightening how easy it really is to both nab someones things and then write off what you were attempting.

    • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday June 25, 2011 @08:55PM (#36573108) Homepage

      I spent a little time as a TSA screener. Take it from me, most of them don't like their jobs and would rather be doing something else. They are barred from using their brains and are likely to lose their jobs if they do anything that resembles "sensible." The best way to get through a checkpoint is to quietly make it known that you know they don't like what they do or how they have to do it and that all you are interested in is getting out of their way and on to your destination. Also, it doesn't hurt to treat them like people and offer a little small talk. You will never see or meet the people making the real decisions. All you get to see are people who probably couldn't get a better job somewhere else.

      And while it is known that TSA people have stolen things, it is actually quite difficult to do that. I know in my time there, things were pretty well watched. The real threat was and still is, the baggage handlers and civilians who go to the airports to steal luggage.

      I'm a long way from defending the TSA, but I know what it's like to do things I didn't like doing. Searching people and their things is interesting at first, but after the first few days, it's meaningless and endless. If you think for a moment that someone's there snickering at your "whatever" you would be wrong. Only newbies would be like that.

      • by Cylix (55374) *

        Since you completely missed the point of anything there and went on a random rant in reply...

        What's the difference between a post apocalyptic thermonuclear wasteland and Kansas? At least among the rubble and mutants in the wasteland there is something to do!

        In fact, the whole conversation seems so misplaced it seems like a robotext running on keywords. I believe it's worth a shot to give it a test, no?

        As a TSA representative how many penis's have you witnessed? I want to compare it with the number of breast

      • by Asic Eng (193332)

        The best way to get through a checkpoint is to quietly make it known that you know they don't like what they do or how they have to do it and that all you are interested in is getting out of their way and on to your destination. Also, it doesn't hurt to treat them like people and offer a little small talk.

        You know, I really have better things to do. I don't feel like offering small talk to people who do meaningless searches and enforce utterly pointless regulations (e.g. confiscating bottled water). The

    • and cover for each other. According to a local Atlanta radio host he watched as one of the officers took an iPod and other items then left the area. When he tried to confront them they said he had gone home or such. In other words, if they want stuff they know to cover each other and intimidate the flying public with arrest.

      http://mydailykona.blogspot.com/2011/06/tsa-stealing-from-passengers.html [blogspot.com]
      http://www.examiner.com/headlines-in-new-york/former-tsa-supervisor-at-newark-jailed-for-stealing-from-passengers [examiner.com]

      • by osgeek (239988)

        It's nice to know that Ben Franklin was so incredibly right:

              "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

        We've done this to ourselves. We've given these goons so much money and power to make us all safe from terrrrusts, and now our liberty and our safety are greatly diminished.

  • This is really the only argument that ever need to be voiced when arguing against laws that make it illegal to record police in public:

    Who are Police? They are people. Some people do wrong things sometimes. Thus, some police break the law. Making it illegal for others to record the police only makes illegal behavior by corrupt police easier.

    In this instance the officer was not on duty, but it shows that just because you are employed as a Police officer or Government agent doesn't mean your morals are always intact.

    • Who are Police? They are people. Some people do wrong things sometimes. Thus, some police break the law. Making it illegal for others to record the police only makes illegal behavior by corrupt police easier .

      That's the general idea, yes.

  • Fullerton Police Patrol Officer Kelly Mejia used the well-known stealing technique of placing a bag (in this case, a bag of chicken) http://www.fullertonsfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Mejia-Arrest.pdf [fullertonsfuture.org] over the item and then removing both. People steal cell phones using this method all the time. It happened to me on a bus in Kansas City, MO.
    Kelly Mejia makes 86K$US/year and has been an patrol officer for 6 years. When confronted about the pad, she said she was going to keep it.
    I have found that mo
    • by SeaFox (739806)

      Fullerton Police Patrol Officer Kelly Mejia used the well-known stealing technique of placing a bag (in this case, a bag of chicken) http://www.fullertonsfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Mejia-Arrest.pdf [fullertonsfuture.org] over the item and then removing both. People steal cell phones using this method all the time. It happened to me on a bus in Kansas City, MO.

      That is a very interesting arrest affidavit. Did you see the "Ethnicity" blank on the form they have in addition to the actual "Race" blank? It has two check boxes. "Hispanic" and "Not Hispanic".

      Racially profile much, Florida?

  • http://travelunderground.org/index.php?threads/list-of-tsa-crime-stories-since-december-2010-part-1.127/ [travelunderground.org]
    http://travelunderground.org/index.php?threads/list-of-tsa-crime-stories-since-december-2010-part-2.128/ [travelunderground.org]

    Granted this one wasn't actually committed by a TSO but as was mentioned above, airport security checkpoints are prime locations for theft because many seem (or are) deliberately designed to separate you from your belongings.

    Tip: You are NOT required to use a TSA-friendly lock to lock your carry-on bag. Keep your valuables inside your bag as it goes through the X-ray and lock it with a secure, TSA-unfriendly lock. If you want to take your laptop out as they insist you have to (many have said they've left the laptop in the bag and the TSA troglodytes haven't said anything about it), lock it to your bag handle with a Kensington locking cable. These steps will help ensure that you're there to watch them if they claim to need to look through your belongings. It also helps prevent them from trying to force you into a private room for a gropedown by picking your bags up and walking off with them.

    And yeah, this is a shameless plug, but the site in my sig is a good resource for tracking TSA civil-rights abuses and coordinating political action to fight back against them. There's good advice to be had for putting TSOs in their place at the checkpoint too.

    • Just replying in case I change my sig in the future - the site in question is the same one the links pointed to - Travel Underground, at travelunderground.org
  • I guess for me, the real shock is a cop can earn that much money. Even in California this figure is quite generous for someone with possibly an Associates degree (guessing, as most cops are in this range) and some time at a local academy (also normally hosted by community colleges).

    There are people a lot better educated and arguably more productive to society making about that figure.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by SeaFox (739806)

      There are people a lot better educated and arguably more productive to society making about that figure.

      Yes, but do those people have "getting shot" on their list of likely risks while on the job?

      • Yes, but do those people have "getting shot" on their list of likely risks while on the job?

        You mean like taxi drivers?

        The risk of "getting shot" as a police officer is not nearly as great as some people seem to think. Most officer fatalities come from car accidents. Most cabbie fatalities come from assaults.

        • The risk of "getting shot" as a police officer is not nearly as great as some people seem to think. Most officer fatalities come from car accidents.

          A coworker's brother in law was Minnesota Highway Patrol. According to him, "there're very few people out there gunning for a cop, but there're a lot of BAD DRIVERS out there." I would take that as a confirmation...

      • by SvnLyrBrto (62138)

        Like, for example, military personnel, for whom 85K is approximately the pay for an officer with 10+ years of service or an enlistee with about 20?

        Cops are chumps compared to soldiers, sailors, or marines. They should certainly not be being paid more.

      • by Assmasher (456699)

        Yes, just about every junior to mid-level officer (along with many many Non-Coms) in the Marine Corps.

    • by u38cg (607297)
      The theory is, pay peanuts, get monkeys. If you don't pay police officers well you get people willing to accept bribes and to commit petty crime.
      • by Methuseus (468642)

        So we need to pay them more than $86k? Because she was more than willing to commit petty (and apparently grand) theft. Possibly would take bribes as well.

        • by u38cg (607297)
          Some people will abuse trust no matter what you pay them. But badly paid and unappreciated (in their eyes) police officers are very likely to feel they can start to push the boundaries.
  • ...every time some Apple device somewhere gets stolen by someone, Slashdot has to create a story about it.

    And some people on here have the audacity to wonder why we non-fanbois hate Apple so much - it's like a badly spoilt child constantly craving your attention and something from you....

  • How stupid doe she have to be to be a cop and try to steal something in the single area, which is not only probably videotaped, but the best videotaped area for sure, with the best cameras, and where videotapes will be definitely kept for some time?

  • Kelly Mejia has been working with the Fullerton Police Department for at least six years and earns about $86,000 per year as a patrol officer

    What? Holy crap batman. I have no problem with cops getting paid, but $86k for a PATROL OFFICER? Wow... Guess that iPad was worth it, eh? Lol.

  • And was there a strip search involved that involved video?
    What, that would be 10X more entertaining than the government ripping itself off.

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