Philly’s Airport Second Most-Breached in Nation

In one incident, a woman allegedly grabbed an airport police officer's gun and pointed it at him.

(Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia International Airport.)

Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia International Airport.

An Associated Press investigation has revealed the most comprehensive public tally of breaches at the nation’s large airports, and Philly’s airport is tied for second with Las Vegas’s for the most known breaches.

Intruders crossed the Philadelphia International Airport’s fences, gates and other secured areas 30 times between January 2004 and February 2016, according to the AP. The airport shared detailed information on the breaches only after attorneys for the AP got involved, the news agency reports.

Breaches in airports across the nation occur about once every 10 days, according to the AP. Many occur in airports’ outside perimeters, where airport officials might not be as suspecting.

The AP reports that some airports have not been forthcoming about the breaches. For instance, when the AP first inquired about security breaches at the Philadelphia International Airport last year, authorities gave little information about a 2012 incident, during which they said an intoxicated woman waited for someone to drive out of a gate before walking through.

But according to an AP story published today, airport records show that something much more dangerous happened: The woman stabbed the driver of a tractor trailer, hoping to get her hands on its $1 million worth of Jack Daniel’s whiskey. An airport police officer then confronted her. She grabbed his gun and pointed it at his head before he was able to take it back and arrest her.

Other details previously omitted by airport authorities, according to the AP, include an incident that occurred in Philadelphia one month prior, when a man rammed his SUV through a gate and sped down a runway at 100 miles per hour — just as a plane carrying 43 people was set to land.

Leaders at some airports and the U.S. Transportation Security Administration say releasing such information could expose vulnerabilities. Airport officials also say some of the 345 incidents nationwide that the AP calls “breaches” aren’t actually breaches, even when an intruder bypasses or contravenes security.

The AP said the only information the Philadelphia International Airport shared when it requested an update on the breaches this year was the total number of breaches in 2015 and early 2016.

Other airports have reportedly been more transparent than Philadelphia’s: Las Vegas, Miami, San Jose and Portland have agreed to share details of breaches and even some surveillance footage.

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