Blades in Your Bags? 12 Crazy TSA Airport Finds in California

See the amazing things people cram into their carry-ons, including a "six bladed star of death," landmine shells and butterfly knives.

For all of the basic things people easily forget to pack for travel—cell phone chargers, toothbrushes—it's amazing what people find time to slip in. Like, say, belt-buckle knives, landmines and, um, chastity belts.

Oh, and lots of grenades.

The Transportation Security Administration, whose agents make sure your shoes are off at the airport, has a blog with a roundup of some of the most dangerous and odd things found and said at checkpoints each week.

Sidenote: Saying you're a terrorist won't get you on the plane any faster.

A quick look at some of the TSA's recent finds:

  • November: An inert detonator.
  • September: A Mark 24 tube initiator used to detonate explosives.
  • July: A novelty tobacco grinding grenade.
  • June: Bat stars perfect for "fighting diabolical crime," the TSA says. 
  • June: A grenade-shaped cologne bottle.
  • April: A grenade with a knife inside.
  • March: Two inert shells from anti-personnel mines.

Other California finds:

  • September: An inert grenade at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
  • July: A knife concealed in a belt buckle at San Jose International Airport (SJC).
  • July: "Six Bladed Star of Death," or a throwing star with six folding knife blades, at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
  • January: Two butterfly knives at LAX.
  • January: Two razorblades in the frame of a bag at Sacramento International Airport (SMF).

The TSA, in a look back at all of 2012, noted that there were an average of four firearms found at checkpoints every day across the country at 199 different airports.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Airport (ATL) topped the list with 95 guns found last year.

Other crazy finds? A grenade launcher in Seattle, inert warheads in Salt Lake City and a chastity belt on a passenger's body.

Rob Chapman January 27, 2013 at 12:17 PM
A grenade shaped cologne bottle? I can see how it MIGHT be mistaken for a real grenade, well except for the fact that it's made of glass (or plastic) & is filled with liquid.
Ila Huster January 27, 2013 at 05:25 PM
A chastity belt, really?? Don't even know what one of those would look like, how do TSA agents know this?????
Gary W Smith January 27, 2013 at 05:28 PM
So what is this article supposed to do - validate the TSA? Finding the overt idiot stuff, most of which appeared to be 'souvenir' oriented, not useful ? When we start using Israel's process, I'd feel safer; not this idiotic process TSA initiated.
The Blue Knight January 27, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Since when are the "four firearms found each day" un-important? Sure, the TSA has a LOT of improvement to make, but seriously, you want to STOP checking for grenades, hand guns, and knives? And as far as the "Israeli method" goes: The (2) airports that they use this procedure at service less than 4% of what we do, and anyone who pays attention to the details of how intrusive and offensive it can be know it's good for them and not for us. (note: the EXACT program that they use HAS been tried here, using their exact guidelines, and trained by their people, and was so ineffective, and drew SO many lawsuits ( hello l ACLU ? ) that its being withdrawn)
Ken Delfino January 27, 2013 at 07:35 PM
Then there was the yoiung man returning to Italy who was stunned when the bells started ringing and a horde of TSAs desceneded on him. Confused and definitely concerned at the least, the TSAs asked if the bag was his...to which he responded "yes" at which the horde closed in. The bag was opened and there, in all its harmless glory, was a silver painted railroad spike that was a souvenir from the town of Colfax, CA where these are available for sale in the museum...or free for the grabbing from the railroad bed. This was a souvenir of the historic Union Pacific tracks in a historic city painted and labeled as such. After much discussion as to how much, if any, harm a railroad spike could do to anyone by anyone as obviously harmless as this passenger, he was allowed to proceed with his gift. In retrospect, it may have been the spike that caused the derailment of a Union Pacific train last Sunday...at the Colfax boarding platform! Naw...not really!!! That spot was 'fixed' bu UP last year!
Larry S January 28, 2013 at 02:02 AM
These items are just a very small number of the things confiscated at Security, not to mention what they purposely put through that Security agents miss! These people at Security checks are not exactly the creme of the crop. Some do a good job but some......well, you get what you pay for.
Bil Paul January 28, 2013 at 02:51 AM
I guess TSA people need a laugh once in awhile. But exposing a chastity belt -- that qualifies as an invasion of privacy! If all weapons are prohibited on planes, then your hands (karate chops), teeth (painful bites) and legs (powerful kicks) wouldn't be allowed.
Racerx Gto January 28, 2013 at 05:16 AM
A news story was pulled from the San Jose Mercury site a few years ago during this era of TSA "gate rape" as it has been dubbed over various forums. A white SUV pulled up to the terminal with no plates. Driver turned on the flashers, two men get out dressed in black BDU's with machine guns slung over their chest, wearing armor. They walk up to the ticket agent and ask about a flight arrival. She gives the info. The men walk over and wait by the passenger exit. No alarms, nothing while the men stand there armed inside the air terminal waiting. A man in the crowd comes down the ramp and they escort him back to the SUV and leave. Turns out, these were Livermore Labs security picking up a VIP. It also was discovered, the area they waited was a zone not restricted to open firearm carry inside the airport. And they did this in broad daylight without anyone getting panicked and calling police. Weird.
CODE4N6 January 28, 2013 at 04:51 PM
lol the tobacco grinder still had "tobacco" in it!
Carol McElheney January 28, 2013 at 09:56 PM
I flew to San Diego to compete in Master Chef tv show, with my chocolate cheesecake in its flexible picnic cooler plus some dry ice. I had researched what was allowed on the TSA website before spending $400 on the trip and going to the trouble of making the cake, entering the contest, etc. You'd a thunk I had planned to blow up the plane or something! They tried to tell me I was only allowed 2 oz of cheesecake! I brought out the printed rules, and showed them the cake, etc. Finally reason won out and they allowed e to board. Thank goodness I wasn't wearing my chastity belt!
50 years here March 10, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Now I see unmarked Blackhawk helicopters flying in to Livermore Airport with a group of black unplated SUV's waiting to take the "VIP" to who knows where. Use your imagination on this one.
Chris Kiely March 10, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Leon Panetta was in town Friday. Don't know if any other VIPs are around.
Andrew Peceimer March 11, 2013 at 05:29 AM
Carol I fly numerous time a year, and I doubt your incident is reflective of a majority of people who fly. We need to remember 911 and check for all types of potential weapons inlcuding small pocket knives.
Taxpayers United March 11, 2013 at 04:55 PM
Paul (Taxman) Koruptz caught on film stuck in security line used for sreening corrupt politicians who vote for tax increases while delivering less services to stakeholders.


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