TSA Officer Arrested After Allegedly Stealing $7,500 Wristwatch and Then Destroying It

TSA screener Margo Lauree-Grant, 41, is the latest TSA employee to be arrested for theft or other crimes at an airport security area. Lauren-Grant is accused of stealing a $7,500 Diamond Master watch from a Canadian traveler after he placed it in a plastic bin. To make matters worse, Lauree-Grant is accused of then destroying the watch when security officials began to investigate.

The traveler alerted security in Terminal 7 at JFK Airport and both TSA officials and Port Authority cops began reviewing video. Lauree-Grant reportedly became nervous and panicked — going to an area where she “smashed the watch into pieces.”

This is the second felony arrest at LaGuardia with TSA staff in a week. The prior week, a TSA supervisor at LaGuardia Airport was arrested for convincing a South Korean college student to go into a bathroom for additional “screening” where Maxi Oquendo then allegedly sexually molested her. The supervisor is now charged with sex abuse, forcible touching, unlawful imprisonment and official misconduct.

Would it be fair to question the overall management of the LaGuardia TSA at this point, at least with regard to hiring practices?

81 thoughts on “TSA Officer Arrested After Allegedly Stealing $7,500 Wristwatch and Then Destroying It”

  1. DBQ: We’re not talking about the total amount of money on an economy, but the value. Friedman explains it better than I can. It’s the velocity of money in what he calls the revenue stream that generates more value. It has nothing to do with printing more money, which as you point out, is a devaluation of a country’s currency.

    You want a contemporary example of what happens when you raise wages? Consider Minnesota and Seattle, where the minimum wages have been raised. They currently have the hottest economies in the nation. Minnesota is adding more jobs and attracting more companies than it’s neighbor Wisconsin, where the gov. with the tin foil hat thinks the minimum wage ought to be abolished.
    Grand Inq. You should read Friedman’s books before you start calling anyone a liar. He declared that unions were “essential to a free market economy”. Look up the definition of “essential”, then read “Capitalism and Freedom”. I’ll wait for my apology. I won’t hold my breath.

    A government dollar is the same shade of that a private dollar is , and spends the same.

    Whatever an SJW is, who cares?

  2. Does the owner of the (former) watch have any recourse to recover its value? The TSA screener was acting as an agent of the US Government, but the Government can refuse a lawsuit. I doubt that the screener is good for $7500, and she is facing criminal charges which will likely sap her finances. The insurance company might be able to skip out by claiming that the loss was the result of an act of the Government. Any of you lawyers have thoughts on this?

    1. Roger J – I would think they would have recourse against the agent and the airport.

  3. Nick

    It’s only a felony if an object–valued at $7,500–is taken from one of the ones grumbling on here. For the other schlubs in society, they need to suck it up. After all, she’s just a petty thief! Stop your whining! The watch was too hard to resist!

  4. T Hall sounds like one of the old gang that used to ride herd here a couple years ago.

  5. bam bam and T Hall – you are both right. At the top people are doing very well at Amazon. At the bottom, they hire contractors on a 5-month contract to find your product for shipping. Those people work 5 months are off 5 months (I have a former student who supports herself and two children this way). She does make decent money when she is working, but it is not secure.

  6. Bravo, T. Hall, for following the SJW rules to, well, a T.

    1. SJWs Always Lie (Milton Friedman didn’t favor unions.)

    2. SJWs Always Double Down (It DOES matter if it’s a government dollar or a private sector dollar).

    3. SJWs Always Project. (“But feel sorry for them? I don’t think you were capable of it in the first place.)

    Good job, T!!
    Keep it up!

  7. I made my original comment w/ tongue planted firmly in cheek. But, I KNEW there would be some who would say the same w/ a straight face. “Envy” is one of the 7 Deadly Sins. Of course, moral relativist liberals don’t believe in God or sins, unless it’s a conservative who sins.

    Stealing in excess of $7500 is a class A felony in many states.

  8. Milton Friedman was awarded his Nobel Prize for his Theory of Money, particularly for pointing out the velocity of money, ie, the more money put into the revenue stream, the more revenue is generated in the overall economy

    Wrong. Other than printing money from thin air……more money is not “put into” the revenue stream. Actually, when more money is printed and put into the stream, the value of the existing currency is DE valued. The velocity of money is not about the quantity of money, necessarily. It is about the number of times that the money turns or changes hands. “The rate at which money is exchanged from one transaction to another, and how much a unit of currency is used in a given period of time

    When goods are reasonably priced people will buy. The money goes to the seller who also spends that money on goods, personnel, supplies and purchases of his own to other businesses and so on. The same dollar turns.

    The velocity of money slows when people can’t afford to buy or they begin to hoard money. If it costs $8 for a McDonald’s breakfast instead of $4 due to the cost of wages and everything else, people will find other uses for their funds and the local franchise will go out of business. Liberals always “mean well” but have zero concept of economics or business dynamics. The results of their do-good feel-good policies are invariably disastrous.

    Devaluation of currency
    Generally, a steady process of inflation is not considered a devaluation, although if a currency has a high level of inflation, its value will naturally fall against gold or foreign currencies. Especially where a country deliberately prints money (often a cause of hyperinflation) to cover a persistent budget deficit without borrowing, this may be considered a devaluation Sound familiar to the United States Federal Reserve policy lately, hmmmmm?

    My sauce is just fine. I’m making several gallons to freeze and it still needs to simmer for a few more hours. Thanks for your concern.

  9. phillyT

    Not that you are one to ever apply the facts appropriately, stealing an object worth $7,500–and subsequently destroying it–is not considered petty larceny. It is a felony. The WHAT ABOUT THIS CRIME and WHAT ABOUT THAT CRIME GAME is a tired and old tactic. No one is condoning the actions that you described or claiming that those responsible should not be prosecuted to the fullest extent. I can only wonder how much whining, as you describe it, would be occurring on your part if someone tried to steal and/or destroy property belonging to you and valued at $7,500? That, of course, would be a crime.

  10. T. Hall

    Whether you would or would not work a $13.00/hour job is irrelevant. Not everything is about you. I know, big surprise. Given the skills and level of education required for such a position, including the reported benefits which accompany these jobs, your claim about this TSA screener ‘s economic pressure to steal fails. There are thieves at all levels of society. Membership in some union doesn’t transform one’s morals or ethics, and watches don’t cause crime.

  11. Stop your whining. She is a petty thief. Steal small and go to jail. Steal big like CAS, Michael Chertoff, the private NSA contractors, etc., and make out like bandits. Where is the $8Billion dollars in CASH that went missing in Iraq? Anyone? Pitiful distraction.

  12. DBQ: I hope you didn’t burn your sauce while you were proofreading that post. Because history proves you wrong. The dire predictions you make actually happened as a result of a concentration of wealth at the top at a time when union organizers were being jailed for union activities. The American standard of living rose higher and faster during the fifties when union membership in the workplace far higher than it is today. That’s just a fact. You might as well try saying water isn’t wet. Oh, BTW, Henry Ford not only disagreed with your position, he proved you wrong.

    Another fact is that not much is made in USA anymore. An unemployed worker is no longer a consumer, and employed worker making a lower wage is a marginal consumer.

    More facts to spice your sauce:

    Milton Friedman was awarded his Nobel Prize for his Theory of Money, particularly for pointing out the velocity of money, ie, the more money put into the revenue stream, the more revenue is generated in the overall economy. One dollar spent generates $1.65 further on in the revenue stream. And that doesn’t matter if it’s a government dollar or a private sector dollar. That’s one reason why economists were pushing employers to raise wages earlier this year.

    Wage earners at the lower tiers spend a higher percentage of their earnings than those in the upper brackets. Those many millions of workers, all told, spend more than the higher earners. That was a history lesson from the early 1900’s, when farmers and carpenters realized that there’s a limit to how much the wealthy can eat and to how many homes they can own.

    Bon apetit!

  13. Bambam: I wouldn’t work a job for $13 bucks an hour, but it sounds like you have a bright future as an airport screener.

  14. miner: Meritocracy aside, the MLB Player’s Union is able to negotiate minimum salaries and pensions for marginal players. It’s able to do so because of unity.

    The abuses at Amazon are well documented by Propublica, the New York Times and elsewhere. Things are not as rosy as you imagine or attempt to pretend they are. They should not be allowed, some of them are inhumane and hazardous, but instead they will eventually become the norm.

    You were supposedly able to do so well at Walmart because you were single and probably young. No one can support a family on Walmart wages. The irony is that you do indeed devote a portion of your wages to subsidize Walmart’s egregious wage structure. $7.25 is not a realistically sustainable wage. That’s another irrefutable fact. See Propublica’s piece about the vast number of Walmart employees collecting welfare. As an aside, there is a difference between Sam’s Club and Walmart.

    I know the quality of debate has gotten quite low here at RIL, but you make the same mistake bambam makes in making a false assumption by assuming every fast food worker with a fancy phone paid for it themselves. Isn’t it possible they received a phone as a gift? Furthermore, there are so many deals out there that it’s possible they paid far less than you think.

    But feel sorry for them? I don’t think you were capable of it in the first place.

  15. Just in case anyone believes the drivel regarding this TSA screener’s inability to resist stealing a $7,500 watch due to her failure to earn a decent, living wage, judge for yourself after reading the article listed below. Still think that she is some poor, destitute victim?
    Job Security: Earn a TSA Screener’s Salary
    Bridget Quigg, PayScale
    Jul 21, 2009

    From the guy in the lobby at your work to the gal scanning luggage at the airport, security officers surround us – even more than we know. Beside the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) folks in bright blue shirts at the airport, there are thousands of plainclothes security folks, like air marshals, secret service agents and security technology specialists, working to keep us safe.

    Besides being brave, hip to current events and knowledgeable about weapons, can you guess what the coolest thing is that these folks all have in common? They are employed! Yes, they have jobs in this down economy. And, they’re likely to hold onto their jobs if they work for the federal government.

    According to a recent Washington Post article, “Bill Increasing Homeland Security’s Budget Passes House,” the Department of Homeland Security’s budget jumped 7 percent this year to total $44 billion. The bigger budget makes room for double the number of border patrol agents than we had in 2001 and provides $10 billion to the Coast Guard, particularly to help with pirates off the coast of Somalia.

    What does all that money translate to? Jobs, jobs, jobs. Whether you like it or not, the government is spending a lot of your tax dollars on security and if you want to make a living, it’s a fruitful place to be right now.

    What do federal security agents make? Will a TSA gig pay your mortgage? Good question. Let’s dig around on PayScale and see what we can find out.

    First off, if you’re looking for a job in homeland security, go to the USAJOBS website. I went there and found a few job titles to research on PayScale.

    Let’s try a TSA screener’s salary. It looks like you start just over $13 dollars an hour but can move up gradually to over $18 by year nine.
    Median Hourly Rate by Years Experience – Job: Security Screener, Airline (United States)Median Hourly Rate by Years Experience
    Compare your salary: Get a free Salary Report

    Does $13-18 an hour not sound like much? Well, consider the vast benefits package you would likely have. According to USAJOBS’ benefits page, you would be eligible for health insurance, sick leave, paid vacation, retiree health benefits, a 401K, recruitment bonuses, incentive bonuses, relocation bonuses, interagency transfers, employee development programs and more, more, more. Very few private companies offer all of these benefits anymore.

    Plus, if you believe in the mission of the Homeland Security Administration, you can take great pride in your work and that, in my opinion, is worth millions.

  16. Here is the deal…….private sector companies like Ford, John Deere, Walmart etc can have unions IF the employees want to have a union and IF the employees are not forced to join if they do not want to join. The ramifications of unionization in the private sector where costs go up is that the cost of the product….the car, the tractor, the clothing and goods in the retail store, the hamburger at the restaurant…..ALL have to go up to absorb the per unit cost of the items being sold or the service being offered.

    Prices go UP. If you are good with that and think that the price is affordable to your pocketbook, then goody for you. However, the raise in wages for those at the low end will be eaten up and erased by the resulting cost of goods across the board being raised as well.

    Many on the lower entry level wage scale find that they cannot afford what they used to get. In fact, the raise in wages in some areas has adversely affected the ability of those who need assistance to qualify. There is NOT the ability to raise wages to the levels that people imagine. The businesses, especially small businesses do not have the margin or cash flow capabilities. The public will cease to purchase the goods when they are raised too high.

    Here is the SECOND issue. Public sector workers should never ever have been unionized.

    And the real issue is whether public sector unions should even be allowed to exist. Frankly, when even a modicum of common sense is infused into the equation, the answer is a resounding no. And the foundational reason is simple. There is no one at the bargaining table representing the folks who are actually going to pay whatever is negotiated

    The taxpayers are the people who have to pay for the union benefits. Benefits that are more than most taxpayers could ever dream to have for themselves. However, those benefits are not put to the approval of the people who are being FORCED to pay for them. It is a moral outrage that public sector unions have the clout that they do. First they forcibly take dues from their members. Then they use the dues to elect or campaign for the politicians. Politicians who will do their bidding and agree to their demands.

    There is no negotiation in a public sector union because the people who are making the decisions are bought and paid for and the people who pay and pay and pay are not given any options or decisions.

    So…keep your private sector unions and watch the economy implode with rising costs and rising unemployment. Watch businesses go out of business. Bankruptcy will become a common thing. The choices of goods and services will shrink to only those who have enough capital and margins to weather the storm. Say goodbye to small businesses and regional businesses and welcome to giant corporations and international capital. Foreign goods which will be affordable and Made in the USA will be a distant memory.

  17. T. Hall wrote: “BTW, How many bad baseball players has the Player’s Union forced MLB teams to keep?”

    Exactly none. Professional sports is the ultimate example of a near perfect meritocracy. A player doesn’t perform and he’s shipped out, be it to another team willing to take the risk, to the minor leagues/overseas/Canada, to another career, or to the retirement pasture assuming he didn’t blow his signing bonus on Porsche 911 with a quadraphonic Blaupunkt.

    T. Hall also wrote: “Amazon is a prime example (pun intended) of an oppressive company shamelessly abusing their workers. Walmart is another classic example.”

    Really? Amazon takes the cream of the crop and pays them handsomely in stock options. If someone wants to work his butt off for a couple of years, get a résumé boosting pile of modern business experience, and save a fat wad of cash (hopefully in 401[k] and IRA accounts), he’s certainly free to move to a less stressful, but certainly lucrative, environment at his convenience. And ask any headhunter – if someone survives at Amazon for a coupe of years, he can write his ticket pretty much anywhere he wants. Walmart? I worked at a Walmart (actually Sam’s Club, but what’s the difference) for a while and was glad to have a job. I rented a room in someone’s house, was offered ever increasing responsibility, including management trainee school, and I managed to shunt a few % of my income to the ESOP and made some money on stock and dividends. I lived WELL within my means, drove a crappy car, and got by on 40 hours per week at $7.25/hour. But I knew it wasn’t the job I wanted forever and everyone who doesn’t want to live within their means at $7.25/hour needs to shoot higher, and not convince the government or a union to squeeze higher wages from companies which serves only to increase prices for the rest of us.

    And wrote further: “And why is a secure retirement so ridiculous?”

    It’s not, but it’s also not my problem to shunt my wages to someone who can’t say no Madison Avenue every now and then and instead show a bit of frugality and fiscal discipline and help bootstrap themselves up from the bottom. Every time I see a McDonald’s employee I see them with a better phone than I have. And that’s when I stop feeling sorry for them.

  18. DBQ: “Fair and equitable” is open to interpretation and negotiation.

    No one is suggesting that a fast food worker should make as much as a carpenter. I would be offended if they did. That is a leap in logic beyond anything I said.

    But fast food workers should be able to make enough to pay their bills and have something left over to put back into the money stream, otherwise known as the economy. Likewise, Walmart workers should not have to apply for assistance in order to survive; the Walton family could raise wages for their employees to $15/hr and still remain among the top annual earners in the world.

    One of the keys to reviving our economy is either bringing back our manufacturing jobs from overseas by eliminating the tax breaks for offshoring American jobs, or by unionizing foreign workers, which I believe is one of the main reasons why conservatives are so frantically trying to kill off the unions in this country. Because the need for worker protections remains as strong as ever, and not since the inception of organized labor has the importance of unionization ever been as high.

  19. T. Hall

    Not too sure that someone like you, who attributes aspirations, on the part of watches or other inanimate objects, to instill envy, should be calling anyone delusional. Shouldn’t you be at a union hall meeting, shouting down any legitimate, opposing view?

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