Travelers at Hartsfield-Jackson remove shoes and belts before passing through security. The TSA advises travelers to keep valuables with them as much as possible while going through security. (Brant Sanderlin email@example.com.)
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport ranks No. 4 among the top 20 U.S. airports in firings for employee thefts, according to newly released Transportation Security Administration figures.
Hartsfield-Jackson had 17 firings for employee thefts from 2002 through December 2011, according to data obtained by ABC News under the Freedom of Information Act. The exact years the thefts occurred and the nature of the thefts were not provided.
Atlanta TSA spokesman Jon Allen said it has been more than two years since a local TSA employee was terminated for theft. The agency employs more than 1,000 workers at the airport.
“TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and expects all TSA employees to conduct themselves with integrity and professionalism,” Allen told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. “TSA has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace and takes appropriate action when allegations are substantiated.”
The data obtained by ABC News show nearly 400 TSA workers have been fired at major airports for allegedly stealing from travelers during the period.
Miami International Airport ranked No. 1 with 29 firings, followed by JFK International in New York (27) and Los Angeles International Airport (24).
Not surprisingly, theft-related firings were most prevalent at the largest airports, where traveler traffic is heaviest. Orlando International, with 11 firings, was the only other Southeastern major airport on the list besides Hartsfield-Jackson and Miami.
To gauge employees’ willingness to steal, ABC News left an iPad at a TSA checkpoint in Orlando and several hours later tracked it 30 miles away to an agent’s home using the tablet’s “Find Me” app. Surveillance showed another agent in Memphis taking a laptop left at a TSA checkpoint and hiding it under a ticket counter. The agent later retrieved the device, draped a jacket over it and walked away. He was later convicted and fired.
The TSA offers several tips to travelers to reduce the chances of thefts: Never let your belongings out of your sight when possible; never pack anything valuable in checked baggage; always carry your own purse, wallet, passport and other valuables; always watch your belongings as they advance through X-ray equipment; and be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.