Tacoma runaway arrested again boarding flight
Runaway gets through airport security again
SEATTLE – A Tacoma, Wash.10-year-old who made national headlines last year by stealing a car, getting caught, then hopping a flight from Seattle to Phoenix and then San Antonio without a ticket was arrested again Tuesday after trying to hop another flight, apparently to trying again to get to Texas.
The Transportation Security Administration confirms to KING 5 News that Semaj Booker was captured at Concourse B at Sea-Tac Airport. A Southwest Airlines flight attendant called police around 6:30 a.m. to say Booker tried to follow a man onto a Sacramento, Calif.-bound flight.
“An employee reported a minor was trying to board an aircraft without a ticket,” said Sea-Tac Airport spokesman Perry Cooper, who says Booker was trying to get to Dallas.
However, the TSA says there was no breach of security. Surveillance video shows Booker passed through the central checkpoint security area without any problems, but it’s still not clear how he managed to get through without a boarding pass.
After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, it became a requirement to have a ticket when passing through security.
Booker is back in his mother’s custody, but neither he nor his family would comment at their Tacoma home.
A Tacoma Police spokesperson says Booker’s mother initially reported him missing at 3 a.m. It’s not clear how he got to the airport.
Booker could face trespassing charges.
The TSA says it believes checks and balances are place to make the airport secure, but it will be reviewing security protocol.
In January 2007, then 9-year-old Semaj Booker got through airport security, boarded another Southwest Airlines flight by passing himself off as a 12-year-old whose mother was waiting for him in the boarding area. His information matched a paid ticketless reservation for the flight so agents gave him a boarding pass.
The boy’s mother said then he disliked the Lakewood, Wash. neighborhood where the family lived and wanted to be with his grandfather in Dallas.
Before his odyssey last year, Booker was arrested after leading police on chase on Highway 512 at speeds up to 90 mph, finally ending in a crash. Once he was released back to his family, he ran away for his cross-country trip until his capture in Texas.
He was charged with car theft, attempting to elude a pursing police vehicle and driving without a license.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: KING 5 News and KING5.com