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9-Year-Old Hops Flight to Vegas All By Himself

deltaNo ticket, no boarding pass, no problem.

Today airline officials are reviewing policies after being outwitted by a 9 year old Minnesota boy.

The street savvy boy managed to pass a security checkpoint at a Minnesota airport and catch a flight to Las Vegas without a boarding pass.

After reviewing surveillance tape investigators have discovered the boy even made a reconnaissance mission the day before he sneaked onto the flight. Video shows him arriving by lightrail the day before, grabbing a random bag off a carousel and then eating lunch at a restaurant. He told the waiter he needed to use the bathroom, skipped his tab and headed back to Minneapolis.

The next time the boy is spotted on surveillance is the next day when he again returns by lightrail. He is screened by TSA at a checkpoint and makes his way to a gate where he briefly talks to a Delta agent. When the agent is busy the boy can be seen sneaking onto the jetway and boarding the flight to Sin City. Sometime after takeoff a flight attendant became suspicious because the boy was not on a list of unattended minors. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police took the boy into custody upon landing. He was then transferred into the care of child protective services who coordinated bringing him back to Minneapolis.

“The fact that the child’s actions weren’t detected until he was in flight is concerning,” Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport spokesman Paul Hogan tells ABC News. “More than 33 million people travel through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport every year, and I don’t know of another instance in my 13 years at the airport in which anything similar has happened.”

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police spokesman Bill Cassell told ABC the boy was “more worldly than most nine-year-old kids.”

Because of his age boy isn’t being identified. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the savvy kid is well known to local authorities in Minneapolis. Two weeks ago, he stole a car and was arrested on Highway 35. He also has a history of riding lightrail to a local water park and sneaking in with large families.

The child has been the subject of  four child protection assessments on his family. Apparently he has alleged that his mother held a knife to his throat, as well as that his mother was “stabbed and died.”

Janine Moore, area director of the county’s Human Services and Public Health Department writes, “Typically, staff can tell if a child is lying, but with this child, they are unsure what is going on. This is a two-parent home, and there is at least one other child.”

Is the boy a tiny genius or a future crime boss? I don’t know but I have to admit admiration for a 9-year-old savvy enough to pull off this stunt as well as serious concern that airport security is so sketchy. What bothers you most about this story? A child who is apparently being neglected (because who doesn’t notice a 9-year-old gone long enough to case an airport one day and then return to hop a flight to Vegas the next)? Or an airport wherein nobody is paying attention?

 Image source: sodahead.com

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