Utah man passes airport security with stolen boarding pass

27 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Driver escapes injury after car catches fire near Salt Lake City Airport.

SALT LAKE CITY — A sex offender with a stolen boarding pass got through airport security in Salt Lake City and checked in at a gate for a flight to California before he was caught earlier this month, authorities have disclosed. Police say Salata, who is homeless, could be charged with “fraudulent handling of a recordable writing,” which is a third-degree felony in Utah, the News reports. Salata didn’t know it, but the woman was behind him in line with a replacement boarding pass she had uploaded to her phone, according to Salt Lake Airport Police Chief Craig Vargo. A Southwest Airlines spokeswoman tells the News that TSA security screeners are “tasked with verifying a passenger’s boarding pass and identification” before the passenger can get to a boarding gate, and it was Southwest’s own system that caught Salata by flagging that his boarding pass had already been scanned.

The day after the security breach in Utah, TSA officials in Washington announced enhanced security for certain inbound international flights in response to an explosion aboard a Russian passenger jet after takeoff from Egypt. It is not clear why Salata—who was placed on the sex offender registry in 2012 after a charge of lewdness involving a child—wanted to board the plane, but officials say he wasn’t carrying anything that would have made him a security risk, the AP reports. (Undercover Homeland Security agents tried to smuggle fake explosives and weapons past TSA agents 70 times and were only caught on three occasions.)

He said, “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.” Southwest airline spokesman Brandy King said the airline stopped the boarding process when they were alerted that the ticket had been scanned twice, according to NBC News. TSA spokeswoman Lori Dankers told the Deseret News that an agent made a mistake in identifying Salata, but the man was properly screened to determine if he was carrying anything dangerous. “There are multiple layers of security in place,” Dankers said in an email to the newspaper. Court records show Salata was cited twice by police for trespassing at the University of Utah in recent weeks — once before and once after the airport incident.

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