A PlayStation X-ray image didn’t look right to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) Lead TSA Officer Theodosia White, who was working the overnight shift.
“I didn't see a mass in the game system,” said White. “I just noticed that (it) looked odd.”
White wanted a better look at the item, so she repositioned the carry-on bag on the X-ray belt to give her a clearer look at the bag’s contents.
“I reran the bag because I saw what looked like a gun, but I wasn't sure,” said White. “It looked odd - like it was missing pieces or there were components missing. No circuitry was missing (in the game). The fan was there, but a gun looked to be artfully concealed.”
After the second look, White communicated her suspicions to Supervisory TSA Officer Brenda Nelson who confirmed the image.
“I immediately knew that there was something peculiar about it,” recalled Nelson. “There were no internal parts to the gun. She (White) utilized both X-ray monitors as well as her enhancement tools to come to the conclusion a firearm was possibly inside the PlayStation.”
Nelson asked White to leave the bag in the X-ray tunnel while Nelson called for law enforcement. After a law enforcement officer questioned him, the passenger admitted he placed his firearm inside an old PlayStation to transport it back to California. Atlanta police took possession of the firearm.
“This is another great example of our officers using all available tools to detect prohibited items,” said ATL TSA Deputy Assistant Federal Security Director Stephanie Kenary. “Their focus and commitment to the mission prevented a firearm from accessing the sterile area, and it serves as a continued reminder to remain vigilant at all times.”
“I was so shocked,” said White. “I couldn’t believe someone would artfully conceal a weapon in that way. The firearm was actually wrapped in aluminum foil.”
“Our transportation security officers have a very important national security role,” said Georgia Federal Security Director Robert Spinden. “With firearm detection at our security checkpoints nearing an all-time high, this is a great example of how diligent our officers are when searching carry-on luggage for prohibited items.”
By Karen Robicheaux, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs