Serial Stowaway Strikes Again, Apprehended At LAX Three Days After Last Arrest

Multiple arrests, restraining orders and bans from airports just aren’t enough to keep a serial stowaway from trying to snag a plane seat. A woman arrested Monday at LAX after hopping a Southwest flight from San Jose was arrested yet again Thursday for wandering the airport without a ticket.

The Los Angeles Times reports the 62-year-old woman was taken into custody after authorities spotted her boarding a FlyAway bus at Union Station and getting off at LAX.

Upon exiting the bus, the woman entered the airport and walked through three terminals for nearly an hour. Airport police say she had no intention to purchase a ticket despite having enough money to do so.

“It’s a big deal when anyone tries to avoid security, be it a 62-year-old grandmother or a 24-year-old terrorist,” the airport police chief told The Times.

The woman made headlines earlier this week when she was arrested after sneaking on a Southwest flight from Mineta San Jose International Airport to LAX.

A source familiar with that incident says the woman attempted to get around TSA ticket screeners three times before finally slipping by while an agent was examining a family’s tickets.

The woman then reportedly went through security screening devices before unsuccessfully attempting to board several planes in the B terminal of the airport. Eventually she was able to sidle past the gate operator and onto the Southwest Flight to LAX.

It was unclear why the woman was not removed from the terminal following her unsuccessful attempts to board other flights.

A head count of passengers on the flight, which continued on to Phoenix, didn’t add up to the correct number, so the crew asked everyone to show their tickets. Unable to produce a ticket out of thin air, the stowaway was arrested.

Before successfully boarding that flight, the woman had been arrested six times related to attempts to sneak on planes or circumventing airport security at San Francisco International Airport, where she’s also banned.

According to the Times, on Wednesday the woman pleaded no contest and promised not to return to LAX without a ticket.

However, airport police weren’t about to take her on her word, officials circulated fliers with a photograph of the woman to officers and staff, you know, just in case she turned up again. And they were right.

Stowaway banned from LAX is arrested again at the airport [The Los Angeles Times]

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  1. CzarChasm says:

    Either this 62 year old woman has some ninja training, or all those security checks that take up all of our time really are not making us any safer. I’ll let you decide.

    • furiousd says:

      I’ve read a number of interesting articles on the matter about how airport security can be done right

      A number of things irk me about the way security is handled in this country, probably because I work for a research group developing new technologies for surveillance, security, tracking, etc. The points made in the articles above are valid. In my mind, well-implemented security should have two main goals: seek to catch anyone with nefarious intent early in the process, and for those with no evil intent should seem to barely exist.

      Some significant research has been done which could enable these proposed goals to be better met. For instance, as people come in, cameras can be used to analyze the breathing rates of the people in line. Changes in breathing rate at particular events can be informative, such as at times when it’s not related to physical activity, similarly with skin temperature. Metal detectors are good, but DEXA scanners can show information which correlates to both the density of the material and the atomic number. This means that someone couldn’t get through security with a glass knife, which wouldn’t show up with a metal detector but which would stand out significantly in either luggage or on person.

      Relatively simple changes using existing sensors with better processing and better policies and airport design should significantly diminish the risk or threat while streamlining the process to the point that it would not be as inconvenient as it is today. I mention the airport design so that sneaking in of the type described above wouldn’t be a problem. People tracking is one of the easier tasks to perform with an overhead camera. I like being safe, but I hate being meddled with, and there are better means to meet the desired ends.

  2. GnRJosh says:

    My cousin was arrested for possession of 2 ounces of marijuana and they strapped an ankle bracelet on him and tracked his whereabouts for 2 years. This woman is habitually breaking the law by doing this and they just send her on her way with promises of never doing it again, only for her to do it again a shortwhile later. Yes, luckily they had distributed pictures of her, but why is she not on some sort of house arrest or, at the very least, being tracked to avoid this mess? She’s obviously not learning her lesson.