A former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security agent has pleaded no contest to charges that she stole $300 in cash from a passenger’s purse during a routine security search at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in May. Pandra Benton, 45, was charged with one count of petty theft.
Los Angeles County Superior Court commissioner Mark Zuckman ordered Benton Thursday, November 10th, to serve ten days in jail or perform ten days of work for the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), in addition to paying $300 in restitution to the victim, City Attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan said.
Benton was also ordered to stay away from LAX unless she is a ticketed passenger for a flight that day, he said.
A TSA agent working at the airport Tom Bradley International Terminal in May reported seeing Benton allegedly take cash from a passenger’s purse selected for a random search after going through an X-ray machine.
The passenger initially did not realize that any money was missing, but discovered it later and returned to speak with airport police.
The alleged theft incident was recorded on videotape, which was submitted to the Los Angeles Police Department and city attorney as evidence, Mateljan said.
Benton later allegedly made a confession to a TSA investigator regarding the incident and was terminated, according to deputy city attorney Billie Jean Brown.