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Veteran screener at New York's JFK airport charged with grand larceny

By Mike M. Ahlers, CNN
December 7, 2012 -- Updated 1520 GMT (2320 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Port Authority police set up a sting at New York's JFK Airport
  • Passengers were complaining of electronic devices being taken from luggage
  • Two iPads were planted in a checked bag as part of the sting
  • A TSA screener was arrested after, police say, the iPads were found in his backpack

(CNN) -- A veteran airport screener at New York's JFK Airport has been charged with grand larceny after he allegedly stole two iPads that were planted in a checked bag as part of a police sting.

Port Authority police initiated the sting after passengers complained of electronic devices being taken from luggage.

While the case highlights a recurring problem of theft at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, one law enforcement official said it illustrates an even bigger threat.

"If they (an unscrupulous employee) can be taking stuff out of bags, what can they be putting in? That's a serious issue," said the official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to talk about the case.

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In the JFK incident, there was no suggestion that anything other than attempted theft was involved.

Police said a "decoy bag" was placed among checked luggage at Terminal 4 at JFK on Tuesday.

Police later stopped the screener as he was leaving work on board the airport's AirTrain system. In his backpack, police found the two planted iPads that had been in the decoy bag. They also found in his possession other electronic devices and earphones that had been reported stolen from luggage, and additional stolen items in his home.

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Port Authority police identified the man as Sean Henry, 32, of Brooklyn, and said he had been a TSA screener for 10 years.

Henry is charged with three counts of grand larceny, one count of petty larceny and official misconduct. Efforts by CNN to reach Henry were unsuccessful.

TSA spokesman David Castelveter said the individual, who he did not name, "is being processed for removal from TSA."

"TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace," Castelveter said.

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