TSA found a double-edged knife hidden inside a gaming laptop

The Transportation Security Administration stopped a man at Richmond International Airport in Virginia late last week after he discovered a double-edged knife hidden in his gaming laptop.

According to TSA, the Williamsburg, Virginia man was going through security on Nov. 11 when the officer at the security checkpoint, through an X-ray machine, noticed a knife in the man’s carry-on luggage. However, no knife was found when the bag was searched and its contents separated. As each item was individually re-examined, the knife appeared inside the laptop.

“After obtaining tools to disassemble the laptop, a double-edged knife was found artfully hidden inside the computer.” In TSA images, the knife appears to be attached to the lower case. TSA claims the owner initially claimed he didn’t know about a knife in his laptop, but confirmed it was his blade after the laptop was opened.

We open a lot of laptops, and our expert opinion is that those tools were probably a small Phillips screwdriver and maybe something to pry off the lid. The laptop appears to be a Gigabyte Aorus gaming notebook in TSA photos. You can see that the G-Style Ltd. originates from a Taiwanese component supplier affiliated with Gigabyte. The bottom is very similar to many of the Aorus models we’ve tested.

If I may put on my nerd glasses…

The laptop has upgradeable RAM (which is good as the sticks appear to be damaged) and the SSD, housed under a thermal pad, is also replaceable. There is also access to the Wi-Fi card and battery. Unfortunately, the fans are dirty and should be cleaned.

“This was an excellent job by our officers who first identified the threat and then worked in partnership with the Capital Region Airports Commission Police to obtain tools needed to disassemble the laptop to expose the knife,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke said the TSA’s federal security director for Richmond International Airport. “Detecting intricately concealed weapons is indicative of the training and skill of our officers who are focused on their mission to ensure prohibited items that could cause harm are not carried on flights.”

(Image credit: TSA)

Burke added that the man faces “harsh federal civil penalties.” The TSA press release also pointed out that if the man has TSA PreCheck, he loses his privileges (as is the case with anyone bringing a gun to airport security).

Under the TSA’s Enforcement Sanctions Guidance Policy, sharp objects, including double-edged knives or daggers, throwing stars (including 3D-printed throwing stars), axes and hatchets, meat cleavers, fencing foils, machetes, gravity knives, and other sharp objects could result in a fine of between US$390 and US$2,250 -dollar lead.

While “ordinary elaborate concealment,” such as a cane sword or penknife, can result in a fine of between $530 and $2,250, “extraordinary elaborate concealment,” including a hollowed-out book fit for a dangerous object, can result in a fine of between $5,320 and $5,320 $10,700 lie. The TSA has not confirmed the classification of this incident, but we suspect knives hidden in laptops are second tier. Note, however, that these numbers are from a document that was updated prior to the incident and may have changed slightly.

No other information about the traveler, including his identity, where he was traveling or his motive, was disclosed.

While it is important for travelers to feel safe, incidents like this are rare. A recent report by The edge snotes that TSA has “played little to no part in the biggest counterterrorism stories of the last two decades” and that some of the most prominent attempts outside the United States have boarded planes at airports where TSA is not responsible for security. Aside from that, the TSA has an Instagram account that sometimes features some interesting finds.

So yes, count this as a win for the TSA (and I suppose the poor chassis is trying to hold it all together). But don’t bring knives on planes, don’t hide them, and definitely don’t hide them in a laptop. Someone will find her, and you’ll hold the reins for the rest of us.

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