Suggestion: Don't Try To Smuggle A Box Cutter Through Airport Security

The TSA says a 21 year-old man was caught smuggling a box cutter onto an airplane by hiding it inside a secret compartment inside a book. The man says he forgot the box cutter was inside the book.

From the TSA’s website:

The X-ray image of a box cutter inside Benjamin Baines Jr.’s backpack caught the attention of federal officers Sunday morning at Tampa International Airport.

But it was the packaging that really jolted them: a hollowed-out book that hid the razor-sharp tool. Also inside the backpack: a Koran, a Holy Bible and rap music lyrics referencing police, drugs and guns.

Baines, 21, of Clearwater told investigators he forgot the box cutter was inside the copy of Fear Itself when he packed his bag for a trip to Las Vegas, states a report by Tampa International Airport police.

He was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor. He pleaded guilty Monday in Hillsborough County court and received a 30-day jail sentence. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is looking into the case but has not filed charges.

“What raises our concern is when an item is artfully concealed,” said Christopher White, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration. “It’s different than a box cutter inside a backpack.”

Relatives say that it was just a misunderstanding: “He’s not militant,” said James Layne, a 28-year-old cousin. “He’s not a crazy blow-yourself-up kind of guy. It’s all a major misunderstanding.” Baines said that he cut the compartment into the book to conceal marijuana and to keep money from being stolen by roommates. We think Baines might want to cut back just a bit on the marijuana.

TIA Finds Cutter Hidden in Book [TSA]


Edit Your Comment

  1. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    You know for a fact he knew full-well that he had those…

  2. says:

    “hiding it inside a secret compartment inside a book”

    yeah, thats a real secret. no ones EVER done that before

  3. j4yx0r says:

    Commence the banning of books on planes in 3, 2, 1…


  4. dreamsneverend says:

    Sweet more news about Tampa… what a great week with cops dumping people of of wheel chairs and dummies trying to test airport security!

  5. nardo218 says:

    Poor book.

  6. FightOnTrojans says:

    Obviously SOMEONE has seen “The Shawshank Redemption” a few too many times. Unfortunately for him, a prison sentence, not freedom, lay within this book. And, WTF? he put it in a book titled “Fear Itself”. Is that supposed to mean something? Ooohh… don’t scare me Mr. Wannabe Terrorist.

  7. GenXCub says:

    I like the excuse given by family that he usually uses the secret compartment for pot.

  8. Erskine says:

    “The man says he forgot the box cutter was inside the book.”

    Six months later, the police say they forgot that the man was inside the Jail cell.


  9. Aphex242 says:

    “No… you put your WEED in there….”

  10. dorkins says:

    But why would ANYONE EVER put a box cutter inside a secret book compartment, let alone FORGET about it?

    Pot, yes, but … a BOX CUTTER?

    Maybe he was hoping to raise a stink about the “terrible TSA security” after smuggling it on board?

  11. Murph1908 says:

    What I learned:

    1. Cutting a 3″ by 7″ hole to store a 1″ by 4″ item is considered ‘artfully concealed.’

    2. Ben thinks he’s pretty clever, making literal that the only thing you have to fear is Fear Itself

    3. Some people apparently think that rap music sometimes DOESN’T contain references to police, drugs, and guns.

  12. Trai_Dep says:

    Clever subterfuge, considering that no TSA employee has even passing knowledge of a book.

    Next time I’m caught with plastique, an alarm clock, a primer and a tangled mess of wires at the airport, I have to remember the “my stoner roommates” excuse.

    This guy better know he’s a Dead Man Walking. The US Librarian Association is one vengeful bunch, and they’re on to him now.

  13. SVreader says:

    “Also inside the backpack: a Koran, a Holy Bible and rap music lyrics referencing police, drugs and guns.”

    Lemme guess…the rap music lyrics also referenced “hos”?

  14. Nighthawke says:

    “You cut a bible. You all will hang for this” to paraphrase an old pirate.

  15. rhombopteryx says:

    rap music lyrics referencing police, drugs and guns.

    Let’s hope TSA doesn’t ban that…

  16. gorckat says:

    Commence the banning of books on planes in 3, 2, 1…

    Won’t be long before we have Firemen to deal with those pesky ‘book’ things.

  17. redhelix says:

    Well I guess it can no longer be said that airport screening has never successfully prevented a terrorist act

  18. Whitey Fisk says:

    Salvation lies within.

    Well, this jackass was bound to be busted sooner or later for something.

  19. DrGirlfriend says:

    Well, duh, he just left the boxcutter there after he used it to make his super-secret compartment! You know how it is: cut up a book to make a place for your stash, smoke your stash, leave your boxcutter in there by mistake, go get some munchies, forget where you left your boxcutter. If I had a nickel for every time that’s happened to me…

  20. Saboth says:

    My God…he had rap music that referenced police, drugs and guns. This, in itself labels him a terrorist, as any patriotic american listens to rap music that references a well rounded education, investing for retirement and sex for procreation purposes only.

  21. samurailynn says:

    It is possible that he forgot about it. Say he was using the box cutter to hollow out the book, then left it in there. If the book was sitting around long enough, he would probably forget it was there. It doesn’t excuse him from the misdemeanor, but it is possible that he forgot about it. I’m torn about what to do in a circumstance like this. If the box cutter had just been at the bottom of his bag, they probably would have just taken it and let him go on. Did he raise a scene at security, or did they arrest him without a second glance?

  22. Shadowman615 says:

    Wow, it get’s even better if you read the artice…

    The violent rap lyrics, Baines said, were his work. “He stated that rap music lyrics is all lies and that rap music writers have to play the part,” the report states. A national records check found Baines had no criminal convictions.

    Uhhhh…I don’t know how to respond to that. But then in the next paragraph:

    At an initial hearing Monday, Hillsborough court records show, Baines pleaded guilty to the concealed weapons charge. He wasn’t represented by an attorney, said Butler. TSA and airport officers charged him because “he was black and carrying the Koran,” he said.

    Really? Are you sure it didn’t have anything to do with the boxcutter hidden in the cutout pages of a book?

  23. NefariousNewt says:

    @nardo218: Brings new meaning to “print is dead.”

  24. samurailynn says:

    @redhelix: Yes, he might have gotten out those lyrics and started singing on the plane. Oh, the humanity!

  25. NoWin says:

    @Erskine: Good one!

  26. Youthier says:

    I don’t know why you would travel with a hollowed out book of which you don’t know what the contents are.

  27. Erskine says:

    “TSA and airport officers charged him because ‘he was black and carrying the Koran,’ he said.”

    No – that’s the reason that you might have gone to Gitmo, not to prison.

  28. Erskine says:

    @NoWin: :-)

  29. savvy999 says:

    This guy sounds like Jim Anchower’s roommate. Hola amigos!

  30. ianmac47 says:

    Clearly this is just gorilla marketing effort to sell Kindles and Sony Readers.

  31. scoosdad says:

    I’d be willing to bet that the TSA program to get your name off the no-fly list is not going to be an option in this guys’s future.

  32. clevershark says:

    The shocking thing is that this guy actually got caught with a weapon by airport security. If he’d had a bottle of water as well the TSA thingy would probably have found the water, upbraided him for it, and then let him board with the knife.

  33. inno says:

    Welcome to the National Counterterrorism Center’s potential terrorist list, retard. Good luck opening a bank account.

  34. clevershark says:

    @ianmac47: Are you kidding? Do you have any idea how many songs’ worth of “rap music lyrics referencing police, drugs and guns” can be hidden in THOSE? Not to mention Bibles and Korans!

  35. MissTic says:

    I bet he’ll claim he was “testing the system” or something *eyeroll*

    I hate the TSA monkeys as much as the next person, but you just don’t fool around with stuff like this. It’s too blatant.

  36. traezer says:


    Actually, its the American Library Association (ALA). And yes, they will be holding a funeral for this book.

  37. cmdr.sass says:

    further proof that pot makes you stupid

  38. UpsetPanda says:

    I think this is a secret ploy to sell more of Amazon’s Kindle. No books? No problem.

    But in all seriousness, I can’t believe his excuse was “I forgot it was there.” Really? I mean, cause it looks like you forgot that you cut out a slot for the box cutter, and then forgot you placed a box cutter inside that compartment, and forgot that you had a giant, gaping hole in your book and couldn’t read it during your flight. And what’s all this about “he’s not crazy” and “he isn’t militant”? He might not be, but he sure is stupid, and I advocate keeping stupid people off planes just as much as I advocate keeping terrorists off planes.

  39. econobiker says:

    I guess “artfully concealed” refers to the craftlike or scrapbook like artistry of cutting the book out versus say female terrorists concealing weapons or explosives in fake pregnant bellies (or other cavities).


  40. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    @HeyHermano: He DID know what the contents were… until he smoked the majority of them… THEN he forgot.

  41. sam1am says:

    People killed because of the Bible: Millions.
    People killed because of the Koran: Millions.
    People killed because of Rap Music that references police, drugs, and guns: thousands.

  42. Javert says:

    Is this like carrying a loaded gun and claiming I did not know there was anything around the bullet?

  43. MrMold says:

    Rap didn’t contain references to drugs, guns, or police. Try YouTube for rap that’s not marketed to white suburban lads.

    There’s only enough room for two or three spliffs. Not a very useful stash.

    Must be a white boy.

  44. Erskine says:


    “People killed because of Rap Music that references police, drugs, and guns: thousands.”

    People? I guess it depends on one’s definition of what constitutes a “person”.

  45. TechnoDestructo says:


    I could see that, if you used the box cutter to make the compartment to begin with. It is also possible for it to end up inside the book just by things getting jostled around inside a bag.

    Regardless “I usually have weed in it!” isn’t the best excuse when you’re suspected of trying to smuggle something onto a plane.


    You have to look at rates per unit of time.

  46. sakanz says:

    @gorckat: nice Fahrenheit 451 reference

  47. MercuryPDX says:

    “Also inside the backpack: a Koran, a Holy Bible and rap music lyrics referencing police, drugs and guns.”

    “…he forgot the box cutter was inside the copy of Fear Itself when he packed his bag for a trip to Las Vegas”

    This sounds like a performance art piece or some kind of social essay.

  48. MDSasquatch says:

    I have 1 question, what was his purpose behind boarding a plane with a hacked-up book? Surely he wasn’t going to read it. No way could he have gone through his personal library and thought to himself ” Wow, I almost forgot that one, it will make a nice read on the plane ” No way he forgot that it was chopped up.

    Put him in jail and let him rot, air travel is hard enough with clowns like him in the mix.

    Darn, another question! How many responsible adults pack for air travel and don’t know what they are taking?

  49. Peeved Guy says:

    @sam1am: Only because rap has only been around for, what, 25 years or so? The Bible and Koran have had thousands of years of a head start.

  50. axiomatic says:

    OMFG we got friggin’ Serpico working for the TSA now.

    His colleagues will stab him with the box cutter by the end of the next week due to the amount of times he has told his story of the “would be” terrorist whom he alone was able to tame and capture the 21 year old miscreant.

    Oh great TSA maven of security! I salute you!

    -sarcasm off

  51. @rhombopteryx: Who knew there was any other kind of rap music.

    I suppose, in their effort to co-opt everything normal, there is probably evangelical christian rap music, that references Jeebus, Ted Haggerty’s meth addiction, and unborn fetuses. Like that’s any better than “rap music lyrics referencing police, drugs and guns.”

    Bonus: Could the rap lyrics have referenced police as good civil servants, drugs as the scourge of the underclass and nice recreation for people who can afford them, and gun control as a rational policy in an insane world. Or would that be viewed as even more insane?

  52. samurailynn says:

    @MDSasquatch: Responsible is the key word in your second question.

  53. dugn says:

    “Also inside the backpack: a Koran, a Holy Bible and rap music lyrics referencing police, drugs and guns.”

    I’ve secretly dreamed of getting caught by the police for something and having them discover my car full of Good Housekeeping, Simplicity magazines and Disney Princess videos.

    I wonder how they’d write that up on

  54. samurailynn says:

    @dugn: You should make up rap lyrics about specific articles from the magazines, and keep them together. It would make a better story.

  55. shadow735 says:

    Sorry but you cant fix Stupid…Move along nothing more to see here…..

  56. shadow735 says:

    @dugn: Dugn caught red handed with materials and plans for World Domination and enslavement of the modern man and Women…….heh heh

  57. inno says:

    Think you have your causality a little confused there. I’d love to see you argue that rap music has created the conditions that provide much of its content.

    @Peeved Guy:
    And Marilyn Manson and Grand Theft Auto are to blame for Columbine, right? Wait, no? Is that because they’re in the domain of a socio-economic class that doesn’t scare you?

  58. failurate says:

    He’s lucky it was just the boxcutter in there (misdemeaner) and not the weed (felony, given that it is a pretty good sized hole in the book).

  59. QuirkyRachel says:

    “Uh, sir, I didn’t mean to cut out a section of my book, hide a knife in there, and forget about it. Honest!”

  60. FightOnTrojans says:

    Ya know, if I had a roommate that distrusted me so much as this guy distrusted his roommates, and I knew said roommate would be going on a plane trip, and I knew said roommate would be taking his “stash” book with him, I might just replace his weed with a boxcutter just to f*ck with him (thinking like a college-kid here). It’s all fun and games until someone gets a full body-cavity search! That’ll teach him to not trust me.

  61. DoctorMD says:

    A boxcutter is a concealed weapon? Wow they better go arrest all the employees at every grocery store in the country.

  62. pmadmin says:

    I guess weed comes in the exact same size and shape as a box cutter now.

    Damn this weed is hard to light! Dude, your smokin my razor mannnnnn!

  63. pigeonpenelope says:

    @j4yx0r: so funny!

    so the guy was creepy as he was carrying a device he intended to use as a weapon because he kept it in a hollowed out book. i gather from that he was intending to do harm on the plane. but the literature he had with him should not be used to profile him. i’m really sick of people making hte assumption that someone who is muslim is out to do harm. there may have been no association between the literature he had and his actual intentions. the koran does not speak of causing violence and killing christians. it speaks of quite the opposite. i quite like the religion.

  64. pigeonpenelope says:

    @Peeved Guy: except that the bible and the koran speak of peace, tolerance and love. it was the folks who wanted power and lived corruption that caused the violence… not the religious literature we speak of. before we make assumptions about a religion itself, lets review history and its literature.

  65. Tenno says:

    @pigeonpenelope: actually the religious texts of both religions can be read to support violent actions and have been used so since they were written. That having been said, atheists have done just as much damage as any believer.

    it dosen’t change the fact that the kid is a freaking idiot right off the bat, and potentially intending harm on that flight. throw him in the brig with huckabees gun smuggler son ^_^

  66. Hoss says:

    It’s pretty bizarre that this minor incident would be on a government website. It’s like TSA saying we finally found our weapons of mass destruction!

    (BTW — I would if he really plead guilty or is this was a sloppy TSA report)

  67. Peeved Guy says:

    @inno: @pigeonpenelope:

    LOL. One comment from me in jest (half-jest anyway) and I get jumped by someone defending rap music and one person defending religion. Only on The Consumerist.

  68. Tenno says:

    @Peeved Guy: I was going to jump on you for using an avatar and undermining the lucrative avatar elf cabal, but I figured the rampant idiocy today was already out of control.

  69. Peeved Guy says:

    @DoctorMD: Um.. you do know what the 911 hijackers used as weapons, right? Maybe not…

  70. pigeonpenelope says:

    @Tenno: i disagree (and agree with you about the athiest part). i will respectfully agree to disagree so as to not go into a debate. i’m sure we have valid arguments for both povs.

    @Peeved Guy: i guess i came off a bit harsh towards you. i didn’t mean to jump on you but to comment back. i should have made a space between points as i was aiming that towards folks who are blaming religion and not zealots for violence. my apologies to you. thanks for being so easy going.

  71. Peeved Guy says:

    @pigeonpenelope: Meh. No worries. This touches on one of the three “off-limit” topics, so a little passion form folks is to be expected. Thanks for clearing the air.

  72. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    “OMG, how could I have been so forgetful, leaving this box-cutter in my normal, everyday hollowed-out book???”

    I don’t know what the guy was up to, but he fell out of the moron-tree and hit every branch coming down.

    I wouldn’t exactly call that “artfully concealed” either.

  73. astrochimp says:

    “[R]ap music lyrics referencing police, drugs and guns.”

    Or, in other words: rap music.

  74. timsgm1418 says:

    gee thanks, was taking a drink when I read your post, and almost choked…good one@DrGirlfriend:

  75. mercnet says:

    I heard terrorists use music lyrics with bad words to attack the US imagination.

  76. cde says:

    @pigeonpenelope: You talk about assumptions and profiling, yet you automatically think he was going to use a box cutter as a weapon, and not as a, you know, tool for cutting things, like say, the hole in the very book he put it in….

    Unlike what you may think, cutting a hole in the pages of a book is a time consuming thing.

  77. glitterpig says:

    It had to be an accident – the TSA hardly ever detects weapons anyway, why would you bother hiding one?

    (Plus, having recently gone through x-ray training, I’ve gotta say, it’s a lot easier spotting a blade neatly hidden in something organic like a book than just jumbled together with a bunch of stuff.)

  78. backbroken says:

    My favorite part of this story is that since the hole in the box was filled with a box-cutter, he got a misdemeanor. Yet if it had been filled with pot, it probably would have been a felony, owing to the size of the hole he cut in there.

  79. forgottenpassword says:

    You know… I am actually thinking that the guy infact DID just forget it was in there. Who hides a thin boxcuter in a LARGE hollowed out space in a book? Better place would be in the binding.

    What worries me was that he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. So If I am on the street & get searched by a cop & I happen to have a boxcutter or a pocketknife on me that is concealed…. I could be arrested for it? SOrry, but where I grew up…. just about every guy carried a pocketknife. And when I worked at walmart I had a small boxcutter on my keychain.

  80. Javert says:

    @DoctorMD: You are kidding me, correct? The box cutter was CONCEALED in a hollowed out book. Which part of this is confusing? A box cutter is a weapon…so is a butcher’s knife.

    @forgottenpassword: He was at an airport trying to get through security with a box cutter HIDDEN IN A CUT OUT BOOK. This would be concealing. You cannot sneak this on the plane. It shows an active attempt to bring this banned object on the plane. Now, if you simply had a pocket knife in your bag and it shows no intent to hide it, most likely you will not be charged.

    Seriously, you guys cannot differentiate between the circumstances of this case and what you suggested in your posts?

  81. The Marionette says:

    “Oh i’m sorry sir, I forgot the box cutter was in a book that I hallowed-out before”

  82. Dacker says:

    This reminds me of my recently-former boss who ordered 1000’s of small, retractable box cutters with the company logo as a trade show givaway. Then he wondered why thre were few takers at the shows. He actually said, “I have not been caught yet!”

    What a doofus….

  83. The Porkchop Express says:

    When packing the book that he carved the hole in (he obviously isn’t going to read it) you would think that he would make sure that whatever it was he was going to hide in it was there. Basically, he would’ve checked that he packed his stash. leading me to believe: his stash was the box cutter.

  84. The Porkchop Express says:

    @DoctorMD: if they were getting on a plane sure.

  85. Mr. Gunn says:

    This has attention whore written all over it.

  86. Pherdnut says:

    No waterboarding… except for that guy. And the idiot family members defending him. And a mandatory vasectomies for the whole lot of them. Sorry, but when you’re getting on a plane there is some crap you just don’t bring along. And what idiot wouldn’t check his weed box before packing it for a flight.