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Rocket launcher, inert grenades and stun guns found at TSA checkpoints

LaTrobe rocket launcher

With the holidays approaching, lethal-looking gifts could be on some traveler’s Christmas lists.

TSA baggage screeners turned up dozens of stun guns in passengers’ carry-on bags and even a rocket launcher at airport security checkpoints across the nation the week of Dec. 3.

The rocket launcher was found in the checked bags of a passenger at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, PA, according to a Dec. 7 post by TSA’s “Blogger Bob” Burns. The single-shot AT-4 rocket launcher was expended and posed no dangers, he said, but it startled baggage screeners when it was detected by screeners in the checked baggage.

Arnold Palmer Regional, near Pittsburgh, is primarily used for general aviation, but Spirit Airlines began service to Fort Lauderdale and Myrtle Beach, S.C. in 2011 and added a route to Orlando last January.

TSA agents also discovered four inert grenades in carry-on bags the same week of at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Ft.Worth International, Houston’s William Hobby International, and Alaska’s Juneau International, said Burns.  

Burns said even though the grenades weren’t dangerous, security screeners don’t know that when they come across them in baggage at checkpoints. They can cause significant delays because screeners have to take precautions, said Burns, who advised travelers to leave such items at home.

The week of Dec. 3 also saw a streak of stun gun discoveries in checked bags. According to Burns, 40 stun guns were discovered in carry-on bags around the nation, including at airports in Nebraska, Chicago, South Carolina, (CAE), New Jersey, Minnesota, Georgia and South Dakota.

One passenger at Boston’s Logan International Airport, said Burns, had seven stun guns in his bag that were intended as Christmas gifts.  A passenger traveling out of John F. Kennedy, topped that, he said, with 26 stun guns in his carry-on bag.