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Elderly Couple Accuses TSA of Scamming Them

An elderly couple believes they were scammed out $300 after pat down by TSA agents.

Air Force veteran Omer Petti, 95, and Madge Woodward were traveling from California’s San Diego International Airport to Denver last month, when they say an extensive pat down was executed on them and the money went missing. The couple says they believe they were being treated like terrorists.

The couple, on their way home, arrived at the airport roughly an hour and half before their scheduled departure on March 29. The couple arrived at the airport expecting to set off the metal detectors dues to Ms. Woodward’s hip replacements and Mr. Petti’s two artificial knees.

Upon arriving at the security checkpoint, the couple was told to remove their belongings before passing through the metal detector. It seemed to be normal protocol until a security officer ordered Mr. Petti to remove a pack of Kleenex tissues and $300 bills from his pocket, placing them through the detector. This threw Mr. Petti for a leap.

As expected, the couple set off alarms as they passed through metal detectors. Both were patted down. Mr. Petti was taken to a private room after testing positive for nitrates. Mr. Pettie argued that the nitrates were in his system because of the nitroglycerine pills he takes for his heart.

After all the searches were finished, the couple was able to retrieve their belongings from the plastic bins.  As Mr. Petti was searching the bins, he noticed his $300 was not there. The officer told Mr. Petti to look in his shoes, pockets, and other belongings again.

The couple, about to miss their flight, was told by the officers that the surveillance video would be examined, and security would inform them of the findings at their Detroit destination.

The couple, both wheelchair bound, were wheeled by one lone gate agent side by side to their gate, endangering themselves and everyone around them, Mr. Petti alleges.

Once the couple arrived in Detroit, they were told the surveillance video was too blurry to clearly assess the situation. “You can bet if my father were a terrorist, those videos would not be too blurry,” Mr. Petti’s son, Bill, stated.

Since the incident, Mr. Petti has filed a police report with San Diego Harbor Police and is working on a Tort Claim Package for the TSA as well.

A spokesman for TSA stated they are looking into the case.