A Transportation Security Administration employee faces grand theft charges after allegedly stealing items from travelers at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, authorities said Thursday.
Nelson Santiago, 30, was arrested on Monday and was released on bond Tuesday, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said. He faces two counts of grand theft, authorities said.
An employee of Continental saw Santiago take an I-Pad out of a suitcase on Monday put it into his pants, authorities said. He confronted him and reported the incident to supervisor, authorities said.
The supervisor then contacted authorities and the TSA, which is cooperating with the investigation.
Santiago told detectives that he stole electronics equipment from the luggage he was screening, authorities said. He would photograph the item with his cell phone and post it online for sale, selling it by the time his shift was over, authorities said.
Detectives estimate he stole about $50,000 worth of electronics within the last six months.
Santiago worked at the airport’s Terminal 1, and he had been a TSA officer since January 2009 but no longer works with the agency, authorities said.
The investigation continues are more charges are pending. It wasn't immediately known if Santiago had an attorney.
“The Transportation Security Administration has a zero tolerance for theft and we move swiftly to end the federal career of anyone who violates the public's trust," said TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said in an email statement. "The action of this former employee should not reflect on the outstanding job our more than 48,000 officers do every day to ensure the safety of the travelling public."
Anyone who may be victim of theft at the airport is asked to called BSO at 954-359-6417 or report information to Crime Stoppers of Broward County at (954) 493-TIPS (8477) or online at www.browardcrimestoppers.com.