Sex Offender Got Past TSA With Woman's Boarding Pass: Cops

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By Shamar Walters and Linda Takahashi

A registered sex offender made it through a TSA checkpoint with a boarding pass that belonged to a female passenger, officials said.

Michael Reith Salata, 61, was arrested in the secure part of Salt Lake International Airport after attempting to get on a plane, according to the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Michael Reith SalataKSL

Salata had checked in to Southwest Airlines Flight 1760, which was headed for Oakland, California, NBC station KSL reported. The woman who the ticket belonged to had misplaced her boarding pass shortly after printing it out at a kiosk, Salt Lake Airport Police Chief Craig Vargo told the station.

She was able to check into the flight with a replacement on her phone. Southwest halted boarding after receiving a notification that the ticket had been scanned twice, airline spokesman Brandy King said in a statement.

Salata was arrested on suspicion of fraudulent handling of a recordable writing, a third-degree felony, the station reported. The incident occurred on Nov. 5.

Records show that Salata, who is homeless, was convicted of lewdness involving a child in Utah in 2012.

Southwest highlighted that TSA screeners are tasked with verifying passengers’ boarding passes and identification. “All passengers must go through the same TSA security screening process before arriving at a gate,” the airline said.

In a statement sent to KSL, TSA spokeswoman Lori Dankers said an agent "made a mistake to properly identify the individual."

She added: "However, there are multiple layers of security in place. … Both the ticketed passenger and the other individual were fully screened."