Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Police question Delta baggage handler accused of running from security

February 7, 2010 | 11:59 am

A Delta Airlines baggage handler from Minneapolis was detained and later released at Los Angeles International Airport on Saturday after allegedly running from a security screener and later returning barefoot to retrieve his belongings, authorities said.

The baggage handler, who was not identified, was not arrested in the incident, which began about 2:20 p.m. at a Transportation Security Administration screening station in Terminal 5.

According to law enforcement sources, Los Angeles Airport police officers were told that a man wearing a Delta "crew" badge was going through security when he said he had to use the restroom and suddenly ran away as he was about to be patted down after being randomly selected for a secondary screening.

As his bag, shoes and other personal items were about to be screened, the man allegedly grabbed from his belongings a cylinder wrapped in a plastic bag. He then ran, leaving behind the other items.

TSA officials notified LAX police, who began searching the airport and surrounding area for the man, who had apparently left in a taxi. About an hour later the man, still shoeless, returned to retrieve his personal effects. He no longer had the cylinder, which sources said they believe may have contained drugs.

LAX officers detained, questioned and later released the man. They notified the FBI and Delta Airlines. They will also file a report with the city attorney.

Marshall E. McClain of the airport police said the incident showed the need for an even larger police presence at LAX and other airports across the nation.

-- Andrew Blankstein