US

Laura Ingraham: Airport workers stole my baptismal cross!

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Laura Ingraham’s baptismal cross went missing from her checked luggage at the Newark airport this weekend, and the syndicated radio host says either a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) worker or a Continental Airlines employee is responsible.

Ingraham had just finished several radio and television appearance in New York City and was in a rush to the airport. She told The Daily Caller she normally carries her luggage on planes, but since she was pressed for time and was carrying copies of her new book, she checked a suitcase before her Friday evening flight from Newark to Denver.

In her luggage was a small purple jewelry bag containing the cross she received at her Catholic baptism about nine years ago. “It’s from the Vatican,” Ingraham told TheDC. “It was blessed by the Pope.”

The bag came out quickly when she got to Denver, which Ingraham said indicates that the theft happened in Newark.

On her radio program Monday morning, Ingraham said she first discovered her jewelry was stolen when she got to her Denver hotel room. She opened her suitcase and then noticed: “Someone’s been in this bag.”

“It looks like it’s been rifled through,” Ingraham said. “All the junk is all balled up in wrinkled knots — the stuff has clearly been rifled through. And, I said, ‘Gosh, TSA, you think they’d be a little more careful with the clothes.’”

She said TSA employees didn’t leave any notice or card saying they searched her bag. “I kind of let it go and I’m putting my stuff away, then, all of a sudden, I look down, and the little purple jewelry bag that, again, I don’t have jewelry so my friend lent me [one], is open,” Ingraham said on her show. “The little container of the jewelry, of course that contained my cross, was stolen.”

Ingraham told TheDC she has been getting a “total runaround” while trying to track down answers about the theft and information about how to proceed. “The only people who, it turns out, were helpful, were the nice people at the Port Authority Police Department at Newark Airport,” she said in a phone interview. “After hours of trying to get somebody at Continental to even respond, the next day they [Port Authority police] helped me file an official criminal police report.”

She said the process for reporting these kinds of crimes is so cumbersome that many people don’t have the time or willpower to get to the bottom of them. For instance, Ingraham said a Continental Airlines customer service employee in Newark told her that she shouldn’t be putting jewelry in her bag in the first place. “Blaming the victim is also a really lovely way to deal with the flying public,” she said.

Ingraham adds that she’s not as worried about her stolen stuff as she is about the bigger picture. “My thing is an annoyance and it’s sad,” Ingraham said. “But the bigger thing is, we have criminals working in our airports. We’re doing these backscatter x-ray machines, we’re spending billions on airport security, and yet our basic screening of employees seems to be completely lacking.”

The TSA said it “investigates” and “takes seriously” whenever someone makes “allegations of missing items.”

“TSA is one of several entities that handles checked baggage – members of our workforce only have possession of bags long enough to screen them for prohibited items,” a TSA official said in an email to TheDC.*

A spokesperson for Continental Airlines did not immediately return TheDC’s requests for comment.

*This story has been updated to reflect a comment from the TSA.

  • lubow

    I’m sure Laura reported it was stolen by a Muslim just like a Muslim murdered all those kids in Norway. Right Laura?

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  • AzureBlue

    I am sorry Laura’s cross was stolen and, unfortunately, she will probably never see it again. My question is, why would anyone ever place anything of value in a checked bag? Always keep your valuables with you at all times, especially now that you cannot lock your bags. Not that locking bags has ever deterred thieves before. Theft of items from checked bags has been an issue with all airlines for many years. I have a carry-on that fits under the seat, so I can avoid checking it at the gate on flights where standard carry-on bags do not fit in the overhead bins. If I have something valuable that will not fit in my purse or carry-on bag, I ship it home, insured.

  • Barry2

    For instance, Ingraham said a Continental Airlines customer service employee in Newark told her that she shouldn’t be putting jewelry in her bag in the first place. “Blaming the victim is also a really lovely way to deal with the flying public,” she said.

    I guess she should take that suggestion a step further and not fly on Continental Airlines again! I know I wont. If Laura can’t get any satisfaction from Continental Airlines customer service, I’m sure I wont get any either!

  • Koala

    They are probably performing unspeakable acts with that cross at this very moment!! We must get Powerful Protection from TSA candles and carry them in our luggage when we fly!

    • Archangel

      A more important question than your comments would be: Why are there so many disreputable TSA agents and who is hiring them?

  • Blogengeezer

    With the US fiat dollar heading down the sewer line to the treatment facility, the cross, in reality was a well recognizeable (even by TSA mentality) tangible asset. With gold heading for the hitherto wildest dream of $5000 an ounce in comparison to the old value of $35 (pre Johnson “Great Society”), what else is new. Dump the dollars and buy fungibles, or better yet, save your union money, just do what the gubmint does, steal them.

  • libelung

    One TSA (They’ll Steal Anything) mome took my camera lenses out of my carry-on bag to “swab for explosives” while his partner demanded I go through the scanner to get me out of sight of my carry-on bag, I later discovered a small exceptionally expensive camera lens (worth $3500.00) was missing which they now deny taking. Wait until I subpoena their surveillance video! Not to mention what they do to the checked baggage, they even took my bright orange “TSA” locks from my checked cases and kept them! They are accountable to no one and will call the airport police on you for being “disorderly” if you try to make any type of allegation against them. They have become the STASI.

    FYI Fort Worth Yankee: The Gestapo was commanded by Heinrich Himmler

    • Medic252

      Actually, Heinrich Mueller was chief of the Gestapo. Himmler was Mueller’s boss, however.

      Either of them would have had more class than to steal Laura’s cross, IMHO. ;)

  • spamilio

    They steal things all the time, happened to my mom, happened to my father-in-law. They claim it never happened, and take no responsibility. My ‘trick’; they have to check all boxes, and then retape them with TSA tape. If I have anything special I put it in a box, because it’s harder for them to claim they never looked in the box. If it was in a suitcase, they just say they never opened it.

  • Lovenguth

    The topic appears to be thief of a persons item by a federal employee tasked with protecting the USA flying public. The description is secondary as is the story behind the description.

    Fact is federal employees are stealing from the publicand the agency in charge and the airlines as well have no real real proceedure in place to stop this action.

    So if responding it would be prudent to offer up an opinion on how this agency and the airlines might better provide the public with a contct email address to report the incident(s).

    This problem of federal employee thief is not going to just go away. The Attorney General of each state will eventually have to deal with this issue when enough people in the same jurisdication file a class action lawsuit starting with the airlines and the caught and charged agency employees.

    On the public side, stop bringing anything of value with you when you travel via the airports. Don’t tempt them, it’s that simple really; especially gold as it just passed $1600.00 an ounce.

    George Lovenguth FAA (IGI)

  • thebeckster@cinci.rr.com

    This is so funny… because I remember seeing her wearing that cross last week when she was filling in for O’Reilly, and thinking how beautiful it was.

    I suggest she flood the internet with pictures of it, along with the names of any organizations that had people handling her luggage. Make it difficult for the perp to wear it without somebody noticing.