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TSA officer accused of stealing from passenger luggage

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A US Transportation Security Administration officer has been charged with theft after he allegedly stole a passenger's luxury watch that wound up for sale on eBay.

Paul Yashou, 38, of Torrance, California, was indicted Friday on two felony and three misdemeanor theft counts. Federal prosecutors allege he stole four watches and a debit card contained in luggage being screened at Los Angeles International Airport.

Yashou first came under suspicion when one victim saw his IWC GST chrono perpetual calendar moonphase watch, priced at $15,000, for sale on eBay, prosecutors said. Investigators soon learned Yashou had sold the watch to a jewelry store that was offering the watch for sale online.

He isn't the only TSA official to be charged with stealing from the passengers he was sworn to protect. In 2008, a New Jersey baggage screener pleaded guilty after prosecutors recovered 66 cameras, 31 laptops, 20 cell phones, 17 electronic games, 13 pieces of jewelry, 12 global positioning systems, 11 MP3 players, eight camera lenses, six video cameras, and two DVD players from his home. Pythias Brown admitted to stealing two to three items from passenger luggage per week.

Last year, a TSA agent was fired after pretending to find a baggie of white powder on a flier as she passed through a security check point.

Yashou is scheduled to appear in court on August 3. He has not yet entered a plea. ®

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