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TSA thefts: Top 20 airports includes LAX

October 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Transportation Security Administration agents are supposed to be securing our airports, but many have been caught red-handed, breaking the law.

Now, for the first time, the list of airports where more than 400 TSA workers were fired for theft has been released - and Los Angeles International Airport is one of them.

According to an ABC News investigation, LAX was ranked No. 3 in the nation with 24 TSA workers fired for theft. The second highest for TSA theft is JFK International Airport in New York with 27 TSA agents fired. Miami International Airport came in as No. 1 with 29 TSA agents fired for theft.

Top US airports for TSA employees fired for theft are:

1. Miami International Airport (29)
2. JFK International Airport (27)
3. Los Angeles International Airport (24)
4. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (17)
5. Las Vegas-McCarren International Airport (15)
6-7. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and New York-Laguardia Airport (14 each)
8-10. Newark Liberty, Philadelphia International, and Seattle-Tacoma International airports (12 each)
11. Orlando International Airport (11)
12-13. Houston-George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport (10 each)
14. Washington Dulles International Airport (9)
15-16. Detroit Metro Airport and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (7)
17-19. Boston-Logan International, Denver International and San Diego International airports (6)
20. Chicago O'Hare International Airport (5)

These figures were recently released to ABC News by the TSA in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. ABC News had previously done a special investigation on TSA worker thefts - specifically following one TSA officer who stole an iPad left behind at a security checkpoint at Orlando International Airport.

Just earlier this month, a TSA worker at LAX was arrested for stealing cash out of a passenger's wallet as it passed through an X-ray machine.

The airports on the above list are also the nation's busiest airports. Sixteen of the top 20 airports for TSA theft firings are also among the top 20 busiest airports nationwide.

Travelers said they're concerned about LAX's high TSA theft ranking.

Chris McKenna, an engineer from Maine, said he's particularly worried because he has to transport expensive tools when he travels. So far, though, he said he hasn't had any problems with missing property.

"Desperate times, people do desperate things, and I think that's where we are right now in the country and in the world," said another traveler, Laura Liveli.

TSA released the following statement to Eyewitness News Wednesday morning:

"TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and expects all TSA employees to conduct themselves with integrity and professionalism. TSA has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace and takes appropriate action when allegations are substantiated."


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