Drunken financier impersonates airport screener, lured women into ‘pat down’ rooms

If there wasn’t enough to worry about with air travel, here’s one more:

sfosecurity0717newerA man who took advantage of the automatic deference travelers have learned to accord transportation security officers since 9/11  impersonated an airport screener to convince at least one woman to go with him into a private “pat down” room at San Francisco International Airport.

He wasn’t caught until he had almost lured a second, local news station KTVU reported Wednesday.

The man was identified as Eric Slighton,  a partner in a private equity firm in Hong Kong who has homes in both Hong Kong and San Francisco, according to SFGate.

Slighton had no connection to the private security firm that contracts with the airport but was apparently dressed in clothing similar to uniforms the real screeners wear.  In an even odder twist, he was also apparently intoxicated, according to KTVU.

The two victims were believed to be heading for flights to Asia and might not have spoken English, KTVU reported.

The combination of enforced submissiveness on the part of travelers and unfamiliarity with the language could have made for easy victims since security is expected to be strict, San Jose resident Stephanie Ramirez told the station.

“Especially for international flights,” she said, noting that she could just as easily have  been a victim abroad. “If they don’t speak the language? If I was in another country, I would probably do the same thing.”

Slighton was arrested after an employee of the Covenant security firm saw him motioning the second female passenger into the private room. Male screeners are not supposed to be alone with female travelers, KTVU reported.

How Slighton got access to the supposedly controlled private screening area is still under investigation, KTVU reported.

Because the  women boarded their flights to Asia and were unavailable to tell their side of the story, the investigation is continuing and what might have happened in the “pat down” room isn’t clear.

So far, Slighton has only been charged with being drunk in public, KTVU reported. Check out the station’s report here.



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