Jan. 25, 2011 at 10:27 AM ET
A woman traveling through Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport was caught with 44 iPhone 4s — in her stockings. The extra bulk and weight made for a most unnatural gait, which keen-eyed customs officials zeroed in on.
The Israel-based Haaretz.com reports that the "would-be smart phone smuggler was reportedly dressed in a traditional Georgian outfit and walking with difficulty, which drew the attention of customs officials. When they approached the Israeli woman, she claimed she was not feeling well."
If she thought that'd give her an out, she was wrong. These customs officials, who have seen far weirder things (we'll get to that in a minute), made her go through a full-body scanner, which revealed 44 iPhones in her stockings, under layers of the traditional Georgian dress.
The woman, an Israeli in her 60s, had returned from London — which begs the question, how did she get through their security? — was caught on Thursday night, and "marks the 24th time the airport's full-body scanner has detected significant attempts among passengers to smuggle goods into Israel, since the device was installed in October of 2010. The facts emerged from internal data obtained by Haaretz from Ben-Gurion's customs unit, headed by Rafi Gabai."
The woman was released pending a decision to indict her this week or slap her with a fine.
As we said, Israeli customs officials say they have seen all kinds of contraband at this airport, which is near Tel Aviv. Just a day before the iPhone lady was pinned, they found eight rare and protected birds (birds!) on the body of a passenger also made to go through the full-body scanner. The machine found four boxes hiding two Red Siskins each.
I'm still trying to get my head around how you can hide four boxes on your body. The passenger had arrived from Brussels. Again, how did he get past security on the departure end?
Other goods caught in smuggling attempts — diamonds, drugs, guns, cigarettes and alcohol — seem rather ordinary by comparison, although Haaretz does mention another bizarre discovery: stuffed crocodiles.