Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) TSA Officer Emma Denby was working at the travel document checker position when a female passenger arrived at the checkpoint for screening. Denby asked for ID, and without hesitation, the passenger presented a California driver’s license. Looking at the ID and then the passenger, something just didn’t add up to Denby.
“She handed me her California state ID, which I then ran into the credential authentication technology (CAT) machine for processing,” said Denby. “While waiting for the machine to read the identification, the passenger who presented the ID began to act a little nervous.”
The CAT came back with a message prompting Denby to perform an ID and boarding pass check.
As Denby scrutinized the ID, the passenger gave Denby another California license, saying, “Oh, that’s an old one. Here is my real one.”
“I decided to check that the information on both matched to make sure they were both hers,” recalled Denby. “The date of birth, specifically the year she was born, did not match. I asked the passenger how old she was. That age did not match up with the initial ID she presented to me. Then, she said that the first ID she gave me was her sister’s.”
Hearing enough to suspect that the passenger was in possession of an illegal ID, Denby called Supervisory TSA Officer Robert Britt over to assist. When Britt asked the passenger why she had a fake ID, she responded, “I accidentally gave the officer my fake ID I use for the bars.”
Securing both IDs from the traveler, Britt explained the problem. “Unfortunately, you presented (the fraudulent ID) at a federal checkpoint, and now I have no recourse but to follow our procedures.”
While Britt gathered the information from the traveler, Supervisory TSA Officer Michael Marquez notified the EWR Coordination Center requesting law enforcement assistance.
When Port Authority Police Department Officers arrived, Britt advised them of the findings and turned over the fraudulent and valid identifications. Police then escorted the passenger from the checkpoint and charged her with possession of fraudulent identification.
“I felt bad for her,” said Britt. “But it is what it is. It was a real good (fake) ID, but we had a CAT machine and a really good officer on duty. (Officer Denby) definitely has a good eye for detail.”
EWR TSA Federal Security Director Carter Thomas summed up the situation in two words, “Great catch!”