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Valet parked cars searched under TSA regulations

Posted at: 07/17/2013 6:46 PM
Updated at: 07/18/2013 3:30 PM
By: Berkeley Brean



Rochester, N.Y. -- She says she had no warning that someone was going to search her car after she left to catch her flight. So the woman contacted News10NBC.

We found out it happened to her because she valet parked her car. Those are the only cars that get inspected.

So if security feels it is necessary to search some cars in the name of safety, why not search all of them?

Laurie Iacuzza walked to her waiting car at the Greater Rochester International Airport after returning from a trip and that's when she found it -- a notice saying her car was inspected after she left for her flight. She said, “I was furious. They never mentioned it to me when I booked the valet or when I picked up the car or when I dropped it off.”

Iacuzza's car was inspected by valet attendants on orders from the TSA. But why only valet parked cars? That's what News10NBC wanted to ask the TSA director about.  We reached him by phone.

Berkeley Brean asked, “Are the cars in the short term lots and long term lots getting searched as well?”

John McCaffery, TSA, said, “No, those vehicles that are in the garage, short term long term parking, even if they carry pretty large amounts of explosives, they would not cause damage to the front of the airport. But for those who use the valet, the car could be there for a half hour or an hour so there is a vulnerability.”

News10NBC went to the valet parking and one of the attendants showed us the notice they put in the cars.

We asked, “You're required, they tell you, you have to search the car?” Valet Parking Attendant Frank Dettorre said, “I have to do it.”

We also noticed a large sign that alerts customers that their vehicle will be inspected. The sign is on the kiosk window. Iacuzza says it was not there when she dropped off her car. “I think the public should be aware of the fact that if their car is going to be searched, they should be informed of it.”

Iacuzza said she doesn't mind the security measure. She just wants to be told if her car is getting searched.

News10NBC asked the owner of the company that runs the valet parking when they put up the sign but he wouldn't answer.

TSA says this is part of its overall security plan and that it's a proactive move. The attendants said they've only been doing it for about a month.