TSA Inspector at Newark International Resigns Amid Theft Allegations

NEWARK, N.J. -- A high-ranking cargo inspector has resigned his post at Newark Liberty International Airport amid allegations he stole several T-shirts from a nearby office building.

Wayne R. Winkler, 44, lead screening manger at Terminal B, resigned after being served with termination papers by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported Tuesday.

Winkler was suspended with pay, estimated to be at least $64,000 annually, in recent months while the TSA investigated the theft allegations.

The newspaper reported that Winkler had been caught on a surveillance video taking T-shirts atop a vending machine in a TSA office building.

A federal security director at Newark airport said the inspector "resigned to pursue other interests." Attempts to reach Winkler by telephone Tuesday were not immediately successful.

About 15,000 passengers have filed complaints with TSA about items missing from their luggage, which the agency prohibits passengers from locking.

Aviation security inspector jobs like Winkler's are among the most coveted in the TSA, with stable work hours and nearly double the salary of entry-level screeners.

Winkler was only one of three TSA inspectors at Newark airport whose duties solely focused on inspecting cargo for explosives and other contraband.

(c) 2005 Associated Press