'I think they are just in a rush, they don't pay attention': TSA share the dangerous items confiscated at PDX

(KPTV Image)

The busy summer travel season has already started at Portland International Airport and FOX 12 is giving a behind the scenes look at how TSA works to keep all the millions of passengers expected to come through safe.

Airline travelers filling up TSA bins with banned items is something a lot of people have seen or maybe even done at airport security checkpoints.

"Oh well I was very upset," traveler Sharon Boartfield said. "It was in Texas and they took my little fold up scissors that had belong to my grandmother for like a hundred years."

At Portland International Airport, little scissors are sure to get confiscated. But Michael Irwin, TSA's Federal Security Director for Oregon said even stranger and possibly more dangerous items end up in their hands.

"This is a stun gun," Irwin said. "Throwing stars are big."

"I was amazed when this individual brought this hatchet through," Irwin continued.

Irwin said they've seen it all.

"The large knives that come through," he said. "Do not bring a gun."

He said they even see lookalikes that get their attention, like a fake hand grenade.

"You know in reality, most people don't purposefully wake up and go I think I'll just try and get this fake hand grenade or this switch blade knife, or this loaded firearm through the checkpoint," Irwin said. "I think they are just in a rush, they don't pay attention."

Irwin said last year, TSA seized 64 guns at PDX. 62 were loaded.

"I don't like them around the passengers and I don't like them around my officers," he said.

As of this year, 26 have already come through. Most of those loaded too.

"The problem with that, when we find it, there is a hefty fine that can go up to $14,000," he said.

Last year Irwin said those fines added up, equaling close to a million dollars.

"We're really really good at finding things and we'll always find a weapon and we will always give a fine for it," he said.

Close to 20 million passengers are expected to set foot inside PDX this year, a 4 percent increase compared to last year.

Irwin said that means everything from water, to of course dangerous weapons could delay people at a security checkpoint.

"The better people are prepared, the happier the person in front of you will be, right," he said. "And behind you, so you don't slow down the line."

Irwin said PDX usually sees more weapons come through, compared to a lot of the other airports in the country. In most cases, people do get them back.

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