The Columbia Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security arrested a Transportation Security Administration employee at Columbia Regional Airport for failing a TSA test by not returning a lost wallet.
The individual failed the test to uphold integrity in the workplace and has since been fired from his position, TSA Regional Public Affairs Manager Carrie Harmon said in an emailed statement.
CPD spokesman Sergeant Joe Bernhard identified the employee as 32-year-old Eric Richard Dunlap of Jefferson City. Dunlap was arrested for felony stealing and given a $4,500 bond, Bernhard said.
He said Dunlap's name does not appear under the Boone County Jail's registered inmates list because Dunlap posted bond and is now out of jail.
The test required Dunlap to return a “lost” wallet, which contained cash. When he did not follow through, TSA alerted local law enforcement.
The TSA conducts the tests to monitor its employees’ performance and make sure they are being accountable. Its statement said the tests are conducted regularly, though it did not specify whether or not the individuals undergoing the checks are targeted for a particular reason.
A TSA news release put out by Harmon on Friday affirmed that the individual, now identified as Dunlap, was not employed by the city of Columbia. Harmon said the occurrence of criminal conduct by TSA employees is rare and an unfortunate case.
“(It) does not reflect the dedication and professionalism of our workforce as a whole,” Harmon said.
A total of 397 transportation security officers nationwide were terminated for theft from May 1, 2003 to March 21, 2013, representing 0.4 percent of the agency’s officers, according to the TSA’s statement.
Dunlap has no prior convictions, according to Missouri court records.