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TSA fail: Man arrested for stealing boarding pass QR codes with his phone’s camera

Facepalm: A man in Salt Lake City, Utah, was arrested on Sunday for what might be the first instance of QR code theft. The man was on a Delta Airlines flight, trying to find an empty seat. When crew members tried to assist, they discovered his boarding pass was nothing more than a photo of another passenger’s QR code.

Wicliff Yves Fleurizard is a ski bum from Texas who was on a snowboarding excursion in Utah. However, he needed to return home to meet with his family, who were flying in from Florida. The New York Times notes that Fleurizard got through TSA terminal-side security screening using his Texas ID and a boarding pass that he counterfeited by simply snapping a photo of another passenger’s phone.

That trick got him through the gates, but he still needed to get on a flight that would take him to Texas. Court documents claim that once he was on the gate side of the airport, authorities (presumably via surveillance) caught him taking pictures of “multiple passengers’ phones and/or boarding passes while they were not looking.”

Agents became aware something was amiss when an underaged girl scanned her pass, but the system listed her as already onboard. The minor was traveling alone, and airport surveillance confirmed that Fleurizard had snapped a picture of the girl’s phone.

Meanwhile, fight attendants were immediately suspicious when Fleurizard attempted to open an emergency storage cabinet after boarding the plane. Giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was just confused, an attendant directed him to the forward restroom.

He remained in the lavatory until the plane was ready to taxi. He then exited and headed straight to the aft restroom. By this point, the crew knew something was up, so they stopped him in the aisle, asking him for his seat number. He claimed his seat was 21F, but that seat was already occupied on the soldout flight. Attendants verified the 21F passenger had a legitimate boarding pass and that Fleurizard’s was a fake. The pilot returned to the gate, and authorities arrested the man.

The court documents allege that Fleurizard admitted to arresting officers that he “made a mistake and was only trying to get home.” Authorities charged Fleurizard with being a stowaway. Utah will hold him as he awaits arraignment. He’s not likely to make it to the family reunion.

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