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Weapons still found at airport

Ben Godar

When Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Police arrested a 34-year-old

Granada Hills man late last week for allegedly trying to bring brass

knuckles aboard a flight, they weren’t exactly surprised at the



Airport officials say similar instances of negligence occur on an

almost daily basis.

Police said they discovered the weapon during an X-ray screening


late Thursday. Devon Wise, 34, was arrested, but released Sunday

after posting $20,000 bond, records said.

Airport officials stop passengers with banned items more often

than one would expect, Security Chief Mike Post said. Like most

cases, he said the one involving Wise appeared to be accidental.

“Given that we’re a year and-a-half into greatly enhanced security

at all airports, it’s mind-boggling to see how absent-minded and

uninformed many people are,” he said.


The brass knuckles Wise allegedly brought into the airport are

illegal to possess in general, but a law based on legislation by Sen.

Jack Scott (D-Burbank) recently made it illegal to bring a variety of

other items into an airport, including box cutters and nonworking

replica weapons.

That new law has not led to a significant increase in arrests and

citations at the airport, Post said, but having the restrictions

written into state law make them easier to enforce.


Box cutters and brass knuckles are two of the most common items

passengers are stopped with, Post said. While most gun owners do not

try to take firearms on board, Post said many people absentmindedly

bring along ammunition.

A female passenger was cited and released March 18 after she

allegedly brought a small-caliber handgun ammunition into the secure

area of the airport, Lt. Allen Schmitt said.

While some people are stopped with items obviously inappropriate,

Post said other times someone just hasn’t thought about what their

luggage would look like to a screener. Police once stopped a

manufacturer of electronic parts who was carrying samples encased in

clear Lucite blocks. To the screening equipment, the samples looked

just like a bomb.

With 4.5 million passengers coming through the airport on an

annual basis, Post said stopping 300 to 400 with banned items did not

seem out of proportion. But the number of incidents could be reduced

almost to zero if travelers just did a better job of planning ahead.

“People need to think about where they’re going,” he said.

“They’re entering a high-security area where a lot of attention is

going to be paid to their belongings.”