Airport screener says he took cash
The TSA employee admits that he used $2,500 from an envelope in luggage
A screener for the Transportation Security Administration on Molokai has admitted to stealing $16,000 from a passenger's luggage earlier this year.
Transportation Security Officer Michael Gomes was charged in a federal complaint yesterday with wrongfully converting more than $1,000 worth of property belonging to another individual while in the course of his employment.
Gomes was the only TSA employee working the afternoon shift on Feb. 5 and assigned to screen check-in baggage at Molokai Airport when an Island Air passenger checked in three pieces of luggage, including a cooler containing his backpack, according to court documents.
The passenger discovered a bank envelope containing the cash missing from his backpack when he arrived in Honolulu, and filed a claim.
An investigator with the Transportation Security Administration interviewed Gomes at the Molokai airport on March 8, and he admitted to taking the money.
He told the investigator he spent $2,500 to pay personal bills and was holding the remaining $13,500 at home.
Gomes turned over the remaining $13,500 to Maui police.
He is one of three TSA employees charged this year with theft while in the course of their duties.
On March 3, TSA screeners Benny S. Arcano and Christopher J. Cadorna were charged via information with theft from a Japan Airlines flight last year.
The two are expected to waive indictment and plead guilty to the information today. Two other screeners arrested along with them remain under investigation.
The U.S. Attorney's Office has scheduled a news conference for today regarding theft cases involving TSA employees.