Ex-TSA Agent Had Numerous Cameras for Sale on eBay When He Was Arrested

A number of years ago, a TSA agent named Pythias Brown accidentally left a camera out of some luggage he was screening. Not wanting to be reprimanded for his mistake, he decided to avoid any problems by secretly taking the camera home. This event opened his eyes to how easy it was to pocket passengers’ belongings, and he began to steal more and more items in increasingly brazen thefts.

After stealing over $800,000 worth of items from passenger bags over a four-year period, he was finally caught when he tried to auction off an easily identifiable camera belonging by a CNN producer, becoming one of the 381 TSA officers fired for theft since 2003.

In a recent interview with ABC, Brown states that there was a lax culture in the TSA that allowed dishonest screeners to easily get away with their crimes. ABC writes,

He said he soon learned how to read the X-ray scans to find the most valuable items to steal.

“I could tell whether it was cameras or laptops or portable cameras or whatever kind of electronic was in the bag,” Brown said.

At the time of his arrest, Brown was offering for sale some 80 cameras, video games and computers on his personal eBay page.

That’s a lot of cameras… No wonder it’s recommended that photographers always bring camera bags with them as a carry-on item.

Convicted TSA Officer Reveals Secrets of Thefts at Airports [ABC via RT via Daring Fireball]

  • Isaac Singleton

    WOW…What a freaking idiot…

  • Awgie

    Way to give an organisation with a bad reputation even more bad press. Well done moron. Not being American, I’ve only heard bad things about the TSA, and travelling multiple times into the US, have had mixed experiences with them, but I can say my encounters have been more negative than positive. Maybe this organisation is due for an overhaul of its staff.

  • Desslok

    Wait – people check cameras and electronics?!? The hell!

  • whoopn

    The problem is they don’t seem to have to report to anyone. Congress has demanded they stop using full body scanners and the TSA has ignored them.

  • Carlos Martinez

    Why was he only fired and is not currently serving jail time ???

  • UGH

    I had this problem at Heathrow airport two weeks ago. NEVER FLYING Heathrow again. My camera bag alone weighs their maximum carry on allowance. Finally I gave up and told them I would put all the cameras around my neck as carry on and we were hassled all the way to NYC


    he served three years

  • Westicles

    So this genius figured out how to identify the shapes of cameras and other electronics. He should be as proud of himself as he was in fourth grade when he figured out that the round block goes in the round hole.

  • Amy Byrd Thompson

    People who work for their items and put their trust in these people now have to distrust those who we need to be able to trust?

  • Amy Byrd Thompson

    I refuse to believe that is the answer to this problem!

  • Mansgame

    I had to do that last year because the wheels on my carry on made it be 1 inches over the size limit. Fortunately my equipment was fine.

  • Lainer

    I love his community service scripted ending announcement. Sounds like he tried but failed to memorize it. Idiot. Scumbag.

  • Bob Honiker

    No one in the Obama administration gives a damn what congress says if it isn’t what they want to hear.

  • me

    then u havent fly south african..

  • John Kantor

    Why isn’t he being interviewed behind bullet-proof glass. It doesn’t matter if you catch them, if you don’t make them regret doing it in the first place.

  • Eziz

    good luck never flying heathrow again )))

  • James Torguson

    TSA is now a union that gives money to the Obama campaign.

    They have bought and paid for the right to steal from the rest of us.

    That is what we used to call a crime. Now just call it ‘progressive’ government.

    That is what the left voted for. That is what the left knew they were voting for.

    The left does not seem to mind that rest of us know that.

    They will!

  • Bob

    Stupid comment. “Congress” hasn’t demanded anything. Some members of Congress have used this issue to grandstand. If Congress passes a law to ban the scanners, TSA will stop using them. Otherwise, what a few idiot Congressmen say in front of TV cameras has no meaning at all. What even the idiots in Congress realize is that as distasteful as the scanners may be, there’s nothing better available.

  • R D

    I think he was accessing the checked baggage that goes on the conveyor belt into the baggage abyss…

  • Duke Shin

    Hey man, don’t make fun of him for that. The shapes and blocks thing used to drive me crazy… In daycare.

  • Korios

    Continuing to trust potentially corrupt officers will only allow them to steal from you. Some people have no shame, no honour at all.