Former Miss USA Arrested for Stealing Noise Cancelling Headphones at LAX Security Checkpoint

Los Angeles KTLA news anchor and 1994 Miss America Lu Parker was arrested on suspicion of petty theft on Wednesday morning at LAX terminal 6 which serves Alaska Airlines plus some gates for Delta and American.

The former Miss USA allegedly stole a pair of $200 headphones from another passenger who identified her to authorities. The incident took place in the TSA passenger-screening area of Terminal 6 at LAX, and Parker was later removed from a flight and arrested, a spokesperson with the LAPD said.

    Lu Parker Used to former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Date Copyright: buzzfuss / 123RF Stock Photo

Apparently she picked up the headphones during the screening process from a passenger going through the checkpoint along side her, and proceeded to her flight with her newfound gains. There is, reportedly, a videotape of her taking the earbud-style headphones.

Her defense? ‘I didn’t steal these headphones offer, I found them‘. KTLA released a statement that Ms. Parker simply discovered them at the checkpoint and couldn’t figure out whom they belonged to. So instead of leaving them there, or picking them up and calling attention from the TSA, she took them along with her:

  • “and intended to return them to their owner.”

  • At some point in the future.

  • Even though she didn’t know who the owner was (she claims) and had no mechanism to find out either.

And oh by the way please have sympathy for her because her father is sick.

The passenger whom the headphones belonged to, though, didn’t think they were lost. In fact, the headphones belonged to a LAPD “robbery-homicide detective [who] made the arrest as a private citizen.”

What’s notable about this story is that it’s usually the TSA that’s stealing things from passengers at checkpoints — like iPads and watches and CNN cameras.

And because it’s not usually a Miss USA getting arrested at LAX. Rappers Wiz Khalifa and Coolio along with Conrad Hilton and a guy in a Zorro costume have that pretty much covered.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Some misspellings Gary.

    Also, private citizens can arrest people? What is this? The wild, wild west?

  2. Gary, her title is correct in headline and the quote from Variety, but not in the first paragraph. She was Miss USA, not Miss America.

  3. Actually, in America, any citizen can make a citizen’s arrest until law enforcement is called.

    A private person may arrest another:

    For a public offense committed or attempted in his/her presence.
    When the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in his or her presence.
    When a felony has been in fact committed, and he or she has reasonable cause for believing the person arrested to have committed it.

  4. In Chiang Rai last month the same things happened to us whole bags were being screened to enter the airport. My son put his Apple earbuds on his bag and they fell into the belt when going through. The Thai guy going through before him palmed them and acted like he just found them. I walked over to the man and took them out of his hand. Awkward for him to have been seated behind me on the way to BKK. What is it about people that they think this is ok? 50 year old guy, not some young kid.

  5. I was checking in for a British Airways Business class at LHR a couple of years ago. I put a very expensive pair of Gucci glasses, on the counter in front of the flowers and the check in guy. I had to
    walk away for one minute while he was checking me to talk on the phone. My $400 sunglasses disappeared. I wrote to BA and asked them to pull the security camera and no luck and no compensation.
    I was on a United Flight to Sydney, filling out forms. Happen to have two very expensive Mont Blanc pens worth $275 each and Prada reading glasses worth $350. I left my immigration paper work in the First Class galley for a moment to get something else. and come back. I was literally gone for one minute. Since there were 2-3 Flight Attendants kept passing through that area, my assumption is that of those underpaid United Airlines bitter angry Flight Attendants stole my eye-glasses and my two mont blac pens which were gifts from my mom.
    I was so mad. But there was nothing I could do. I complained to United Management and no luck.

    Just have to be careful… MY Gucci sunglasses were taken by TSA a few years ago at LAX, brand new in the Cover just had purchased them at Bloomingdale’s.and paid over $300 dollars.
    Also, I am mad that every time I enter the US, My bags get checked and they put a note in there by TSA and each time something goes missing.

    There are a lot of people working at TSA, United, American and airport staff whom have sticky fingers and love nice things but can not afford them and rather take them from innocent people.
    I had a large toiletry kit stolen before and because of the expensive face creams, and eyecreams and the other things, it was a costly bag to replace. Do not trust any of these people.

    Most Flight Attendants do not trust each other and they put locks on their bags. So, why should you trust anyone? Specially United Flight Attendants, TSA and the airport people. I never got my phone back from Lost and Claim either!

  6. Alan Louganis: yes I have flown over 2.5 million miles and have never had anything stolen from me at an airport, on a plane or in a hotel. I probably just jinxed that record, but I think there is a lesson for you in your story: if you’ve got expensive stuff, do not leave it laying around. And don’t place expensive items in your checked bag.

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