As a coda to our disastrous recent trip (disastrous on one end, at least) I discovered that I had been pillaged by one of our faithful public servants employed by the misbegotten T.S.A. Before leaving Dallas I had four sleeves of Titleist Pro V1 golf balls in the side pocket of my golf bag. For those of you who don’t play golf, Titleist Pro V1s are very good golf balls costing a little over $4 each, so four sleeves of them (3 to a sleeve) are worth about $50. I packed my golf bag into my carrying case, didn’t have it out of my possession until I checked it at the America West counter and watched it ride the conveyor belt until it disappeared into the bowels of the terminal. I watched it come off the plane in Santa Barbara, picked it up when they brought it to the baggage claim area (at the dinky Santa Barbara airport you can watch bags come off the planes and be loaded onto a cart and driven to the outdoor baggage claim area) and put it in my car. I kept the golf bag in its carrying bag in the car until we came up to Tahoe. I took it out for the first time since packing in Dallas only to find that my four sleeves of Titleist balls were gone. My only conclusion is that they were pilfered by a golf-playing TSA agent.
I’ve heard a couple of TV commentators discussing the problem of TSA thievery and I had a friend who had his nice, expensive leather shaving kit stolen from his checked bag. Now I’ve been victimized myself. $50 isn’t the end of the world, but it does aggravate me and disappoint me to no end to realize that our public servants, hired to keep us safe from terror, are, in many cases, themselves nothing more than common thieves. It’s also a real pain to have to worry not only about your checked bags arriving when you do but the depredations of our supposed protectors. So caveat bag checkor.


  1. I guess this sort of thing is bound to happen if you take a bunch of low paid workers and give them permission to rummage through other peoples’ possessions. I don’t know what the cure is. Hire more watchers to watch the watchers?
    Maybe videos in the ‘rummaging’ area. It’s a real shame.

  2. Ouch! That is so uncool. They do need some sort of oversight to keep an eye on the checkers.
    It’s a real shame.

  3. My understanding is that missing items from luggage is usually result of pilfering by the airline employees who handle the baggage. It has become even easier now that passengers are not supposed to lock suitcases (to allow TSA employees access).
    Count yourself lucky that the golf clubs and bag did not come up missing.
    You’re right; I should look on the bright side.

  4. Can you report this to the TSA? It seems to me that someone should be keeping an eye on these workers. I would think there has to be video cameras. Maybe Dateline could do a story on this. Hidden cameras at TSA checkpoints.
    That is really a shame. I know first hand how expensive those golf balls are.
    Hi Madeline–
    I have rescued your comment from the Junk Comments file, where it landed because you didn’t type the code word ‘lowcarb’ in at the bottom. Any comments that don’t have ‘lowcarb’ typed in go directly to the Junk file. I’ve got to do that due to the huge amount of spam I get through the comment portal.
    Thanks for the empathy. It’s not worth the effort to even report. I found a lock that is only openable by the TSA that I’m going to get. If they know there is no one else to blame, they may be less likely to pilfer.

  5. before the days of TSA, I had a nice fleece jacket stolen from my luggage… point being, your thieving golfer may not have been TSA, could have easily been an airline employee…
    Yeah, I had thought of that too. But with all the press going on about thieving TSA employees, I figured it was probably one of them.

  6. Doc
    That would enrage me too and God forbid I should have a similar experience because the way I’m hittin it right now I’d be out an entire day’s supply of ammo. Losing a dozen golf balls over a few hours time while traveling wouldn’t have the same thrill as losing them on the course during four hours of frustration-style fun. Hopefully the thief will be the one who puts your Pro-V’s in play and his lousy juju will have contaminated the balls to the point where they’ll only seek sand, swamp, and those little white stakes lining the course.
    Those thoughts will in some small measure assuage me. I hope whoever did it is from Florida and hits one of them in a lake and becomes an alligator victim.

  7. Count yourself very, very lucky. E.g., a nationally renowned law enforcement officer and trainer, trapped in the debacle at Philly airport via USAirways year ago last December who reportedly had 5 handguns and ammo pilfered. How’s about that!! BTW, it’s NOT TSA. It’s the frigging baggage handlers.
    Hi Tony
    It’s impossible to say who it was. The only reason I jumped to the TSA conclusion was that I had just seen a report on some TV news show about TSA pilfering. I’m glad I wrote the blog because a Google ad came up on the side about locks that the TSA allows and that can only be opened by one of them. I’m going to buy a couple, so the next time I get something ripped off, I’ll at least know who did it.

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