TSA Agent Grabs Rick Case's Pen, Faces Grand Theft Charges (Updated)

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The Montblanc StarWalker pen, allegedly taken by Puddie.
Toussain Puddie used to work as a TSA security screener at Terminal 1 of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport -- until he told police last month that he had taken home a pen belonging to local car dealership owner Rick Case. Case decided to press charges, despite Puddie's cooperation in returning the pen.

According to police, Case was preparing to board a Frontier Airlines flight out of Fort Lauderdale on June 5 when he and his wife were selected for special TSA screening. Case removed his $450 black-and-white Montblanc pen from his pocket and placed it in a basket. His wife carried the family cat through the x-ray machine.

Case didn't realize that he forgot the pen at the TSA checkpoint. His daugher Raquel called BSO the following day to report the pen stolen. She told BSO deputies that Case thought he had left the pen at the checkpoint.

A deputy responded to the checkpoint but didn't find anything. Puddie, a 30-year-old TSA employee, says he had seen the pen on top of a filing cabinet and, not knowing it was anything but a stray pen someone had left, took it home.

"I didn't think the pen was worth more than ten bucks," says Puddie.

It wasn't until a few weeks later, on June 22, when he realized the gravity of his action. Police talked with TSA employees, conducting an investigation. Puddie was called into the BSO office at the airport.

"The police told me all he wanted was his pen back," Puddie recalls. He says that he told police he had the pen and that a deputy then drove him to his home, where he retrieved the pen, and drove him back to the airport.

Rick Case cover.jpg
Updated: For more, click here for the New Times cover story on the missing pen and the investigation that followed.
Then he says deputies told him to sit down and wait. When a deputy returned, Puddie says, "He told me that the owner wanted to press charges."

Puddie had worked at the TSA since April 2009 but was fired after being arrested. The BSO arrest report says Puddie confessed to taking the pen after he was read his Miranda rights.

Puddie says he didn't initially tell anyone he had the pen because "I didn't want to get in trouble."

He spent about 30 hours in jail and was released. He faces grand theft charges. According to police, "The defendant did temporarily or permanently deprive the victim of a right or benefit to his property."

What motivated the two-week hunt for Rick Case's pen? It might be standard procedure, but perhaps BSO is on high alert for TSA thefts after our story of an iPad disappearing down a screener's pants.


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185 comments
anthonyjuice
anthonyjuice

Man takes pen that belongs to a multimillionaire "Rick Case" and this is what he does ,with no remorse for the anyone or anything he pressed charges even after the person gave it up confessing that he only took it cause he thought it was just another pen and something to write with.These people are heartless and really don't care about the well being of others , i would ask, how does he feel now knowing that he cancelled another mans and his family's livelihood but these people are heartless ,you want to witness it firsthand  just visit their business even their employees treat people this way ,from managers to sales persons because they know it's ok for them .Like owner, so is he employees.I have felt the blunt of their heartlessness and now my wife and i are now suffering financially and also lost our dream of owning our own home soon  because of an unfair deal i had with them a couple years ago but to them i say what goes around comes around.

Dr.Iqbal
Dr.Iqbal

Press charges against TSA for not being able to better store lost/found things, but to single out one man who happened to pick it up doesn't seem fair. I own a similar pen valued at $650, but I can also understand if someone was to look at it and think that they had no idea it was worth so much. It's only a pen. Mr. Case if you have any class you could have sought out another way to reprimand Mr. Puddie, but i guess him losing his job wasn't enough for you. "Gray Cat" you simply have no idea about you're talking about other than utter nonsense. if i was to ever be pressed charges on such a ridiculous case you can bet my lawyers will be giving you the run around.

Gielsj
Gielsj

At lwast it wasn't Rick's rolex watch!

Jeff Spicolli
Jeff Spicolli

I have had things stolen from security checkpoints, mostly pre-9/11/01 when they were staffed by $6/hour ignorant nudninks.  I had a Canon Rebel Camera stolen at the Continental checkpoint in SFO in year 2000, and the Police did not give a rats arse.

However some common sense here:  The agent did something wrong, and has already paid a big price by loosing his job.  The D.A. should cut a misdemeanor plea deal so the guy gets another chance without a felony hanging around his neck.  If the lackey pandering Broward Sheriffs looking to get in good with the car dealer or Case himself does not like it, pound sand.

Of course, this assumes the D.A. is not corrupted by the allure of car dealer favoritism either....

GrayCat
GrayCat

How many of you "innocently" picking up pens remember each one?

And if you do this regularly, knowing the pen is not yours in the first place, why do you do it?

Why does it matter how much the pen cost? Property is property; it's valuable to its owner, and in the case of theft, casual or deliberate, someone else, obviously, or it wouldn't be contended for.

As I read the article, Puddie knew of the investigation for a couple of weeks; it was only after it was announced that charges wouldn't be pressed that he turned the pen in; he knew exactly which pen was in question, and why.

He picked it up from the top of a cabinet? Really?

If the pen was properly in a security scanning tray to begin with, but no one made the effort to get it back to its rightful owner, someone was stealing. TSA is supposedly in the "security" business to safeguard and protect passengers and their private property. Nothing at those checkpoints is free for the taking by anyone but rightful owners.

This shows that up for the farce it is.

As someone else pointed out, the pen wouldn't have gone missing in the first place if not for the illegal and invasive "security" measures that divests every person of their rights, property and dignity.

If you think the TSA has and is protecting us, please name one single terrorist/terrorist plot they've saved us from. Just one.

Only idiots and Nazis would see nothing wrong with this violation of basic, innate, inalienable personal rights.

Just because something may be legal doesn't make it right. Legalese is a very bad thing to base an honest and honorable society on.

Davin Untamo
Davin Untamo

all TSA agents should be publicly humiliated and imprisoned.

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Promotional Pens

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BBC24
BBC24

Wow if they are going to charge him for finding a lost item and returning it, we should charge anyone who has found anything and returned it. That or we need to right a new law that says if you steal a person's pen or pencil you should go to jail regardless of the value of the pen (can't dispute a case over a couple of nickels).

Bcslsman
Bcslsman

As someone that knows rick case personally because I worked for him, I can tell you that he is one of the biggerst scumbags and pieces of shit on this planet.  He AND his wife rita (we called them prick and cheetah) were the most cold, insensitive, and inhumane people you will ever meet.  If you were caught stealing from them, (padding your payroll check using various methods) it was called theft, and you were prosecuted immediately.  Yet if they stole from you, (ACCIDENTALLY forgetting to pay a commission on a car you sold, and cutting your agreed upon pay plan many times) it was called business.  Ladies and gentleman, I don't care what you think you know about them, how they give to charities and are pillars of their community, the truth is that they are what you find around the drain of your shower if you don't clean your tub for 10 years or so.  Back in the 70's Mr case was prosecuted for fraud and several other things, (which doesn't mean he shouldn't get a second chance of course), but then let me tell you about his "bikes for kids" program.  For many years he had people donate bikes for underprivilaged children, and this on the surface was a great program.  The bikes would get dropped off at our dealership, then they were supposed to get refurbished and donated to various groups.  Well what we all witnessed was a bit different!  The bikes would be dropped off, the nice ones would be cherry-picked by people that would simply come in and take them, (many non-needy people as was easy to see) then ricky boy had the rest of them thrown in large dumpsters and thrown away!  What a PILLER of the community!  More like a PARASITE folks I am telling you the way it is... signed, employee #  356,210,784,010.

Jamaican_critic
Jamaican_critic

When I first heard about this case I was in shock and disbelief that someone could lose their job and be prosecuted for taking home a stupid (albeit pricey) pen. The prosecutors are going to have a heck of a time proving criminal intent on the part of Mr. Puddie. Mr. Case is only trying to make an example out of this innocent hard working man. If everyone was to go to prison for taking up a pen then I guarantee that these prisons would be overflowing right now. This is ridiculous and a total misuse of the judicial system.

Purplehaven323
Purplehaven323

This is ridiculous!!!! It's just a pen!!! He did not intend on stealing the stupid pen. Who carries around a pen worth more than ten bucks. Omg!!! This whole story just pisses me off!!! Why ruin/damage someones life because you forgot your pen!!! Most car dealers are all snakes and in this case it's obvious that Rick Case is one!!!

I and probably many other people will NEVER buy a car from Rick Case.

anonymous
anonymous

Why were Rick and Rita Case singled out for a special TSA screening anyway?  Because they look like first class nuts?  Were they being arrogant?  Did they think there could be potential WMD's under that woman's  garish hat?  Do these Cases think they're considered pillars of the community?  It just shows the greed of these car dealers.  I hope a bunch of people decide to not shop the Case Dealerships.  Enough to make his business lose the value of thousands of mont blanc pens.  That would be justice.

James Noel
James Noel

Its a shame that something like this had to happen to such a great guy, I've known this guy for years and he is no thief. My girl bought a car from rick case Honda, and after a few days the card started to give her problems. They wouldn't even fix it right away, had to keep going back to get them to fix it. They steal money from hard working people everyday, and this is what he does to a honest man?    

thetruthhurts
thetruthhurts

Tsa mongrels are rapists in the Soetero mold tat will raphe, steal and murder. Soetero never created value in it's entire parasitical existence and wants to kill te USA damn him to hell !

Blu15_03
Blu15_03

When I started reading this article I thought it was a joke. You're telling me that this punishment fits the "alleged crime"? An employee picks up what seems to be a stray pen, not left in "lost and found" but on a cabinet and he not only loses his job but also serves time in jail and faces those type of charges. This is extremely unfair and a waste of time. If the pen was such a "collectors item" why would Mr. Case be carrying it around as an ordinary writing pen? Did it lose more value because it wasn't in his possession for a couple of weeks? I am asking because I really want to know WHAT IS THE POINT of pressing such charges for what obviously was a mistake? Please, this is ridiculous and Mr. Case is ridiculous. I'm so sorry the Mr. Puddie has to go through this nonsense

Natepetit
Natepetit

Rick is a car sales man he steals every day from people. Now his pen ends up missing he gets a honest man arrested for a pen. Come on let's be real who should be going to jail for stealing

Amitc10223
Amitc10223

We are talking about a pen!! What is this world coming to, how many of us pick up pens doing the day. It was not that serious to be arrested over a pen. These charges need to be drop because there was no crime.

AnniP
AnniP

I echo Mr. Kaboom's comment. Rick Case needs to be thankful that the pen was returned and he needs to drop the charges.

Mike Dukes
Mike Dukes

I guess in this 'CASE', the pen really is mightier than the sword... get it? see what I did there? lol. I personally think that it's really messed up to ruin a mans life over a pen. Not cool Rick, not cool. He didn't steal it. 

guest
guest

there are security cameras everywhere. that should clear things up

anonymous
anonymous

If you can get anything off a car dealer, consider it genius, not theft.

anonymous
anonymous

Stealing a pen from a car dealer?  Put the car dealer in jail!  Please.

Kaiviolagirl2007
Kaiviolagirl2007

This is totally not fair... and I'm not saying this because I know Mr. Puddie... Even when he got his pen back, Case is just being a jerk cuz he has the money to press charges... he'll get his just reward... 

glass slipper
glass slipper

Hey Rick Case, when your service writer sells somebody a set of brake rotors at $200 each that you purchase  at $25 each that is worse then stealing, you petty little pathetic person.

  You probably have a gold toilet just like your old buddy Rothstien.

Teamhallmil Ih
Teamhallmil Ih

Ok everyone is talking about how this is a pen the tsa person did not take the pen form case. Case left the pen so in my opinion it bso that don't have nothing to do at the air port that's making something out of nothing

DRealove60
DRealove60

I am absolutely appalled. For something as innocent as picking up a pen, Rick Case is willing to ruin a young man's life? I can't tell how many times people have picked up my pen and walked off with it by mistake and vice versa, but never would I accuse them of being thieves.  It's a pen for Christ's sake, whether it be worth $10 or $450! Let's get our priorities right Rick Case! You will never ever get my business again and I will be sure to spread the word!

Kvlove
Kvlove

It is absurd that the owner of a car dealership would attempt to ruin the life of a hard-working man, simply for returning his property. If the pen were not returned, that would be a different story. However, Rick Case will gain nothing from pursuing this matter in courts. This is another frivolous lawsuit that is wasting tax payers money!

Nirv
Nirv

Wow, I'm sorry for what happened. I can clearly see something like this happening to me because honestly I have no regards for pens because I find myself losing them borrowing them and never giving them back and lending them out and never expecting them back in return because a pen has never been that damn serious, I think TSA is crappy people and I'm sorry but since working with them since 09 couldn't you tell who you were dealing with? I think ruining someone's life for a pen is the most dumbest thing ever why don't the law focus on keeping baby killers Like Ms.Anthony off the streets instead of trying to to send one of innocent people to jail for something so weak! TSA and the Police Department should be ashamed of themselves, people that say it's okay for this to happen you must have done some Sh*tty stuff in your life to think prison isn't serious, We know what type of people should have a criminal record and I know for one he shouldn't based on the severity of the situation, also stop wasting my damn tax money on stupid cases like this, this is clearly a waste of tax dollars and time.... TSA,Rick Case and THE BSO police department please get yourself together. 

Twitch O'sullivan
Twitch O'sullivan

sad story here about my old friend from the school days and a douche bag with a $400 pen... Toussain, keep your head up homie.... this is not right, i have tons of pens i've found from all over....but to lose your job over... and to get arrested... SMH...

Arross
Arross

Rick Case comes off as awfully petty. Not everyone is familiar with luxury goods, but those who own them might be a bit more careful with them before losing an item and ruining someone's life over it. Bet Rick Case can't figure out why caring people have come to find the wealthy among us wanting as human beings.

Jeff Spicolli
Jeff Spicolli

Gray cat: 

Your many posts ignore the fact Mr. Toussain picked the pen up from the top of a cabinet.  The pen was left unsecured by one or more of the other agents, where one could reasonably assume its available for use by anyone.  Mr Toussain did not take the pen from any sort of designated "lost property" area or lock-up, nor was the pen tagged as lost property.  As such there is a lack of demonstrable intent on Mr. Toussain's part and very much reasonable doubt if Toussain realized what he was doing.  The fact the pen was returned in good order weighs as well.  The D.A. is not going to get beyond a misdemeanor 'misappropriation of property charge" on this.

Ultimately was it wrong to take the pen?  Yes.  However, I can assure you if it was your or my Mount Blanc pen, its unlikely anything more than a police report would be taken.  This is all about law enforcement currying favor with a car dealer so they may likely personally benefit.  And that stinks.

GrayCat
GrayCat

Being scum doesn't make taking the pen right.

The fact is the pen didn't belong to anyone else.

GrayCat
GrayCat

If it was anything else worth $450 it would be theft; why doesn't it matter just because it's a pen?

The fact is the pen did not belong to anyone else.

Even if it was only worth $.50, it's still private property, and belongs to no one but who paid for it.

GrayCat
GrayCat

Who are you or anyone else to dictate who can spend their own money, and on what?

You obviously have a computer or the equivalent, and Internet access, so you value throwing in your two cents here. Why is your right to your property (you did pay for it, right?) more valuable and important than anyone else's?

You have a right to make your own choices about what you spend your money on. So does everyone else -- or at least they should.

The fact of the matter is that the pen -- whether $450, $10 or $.50 -- is private property; it's not up for anyone else's fingers to filch.

If it had been anything else worth $450, this would be more "worthy" of calling it by its right name: theft?

Why?

GrayCat
GrayCat

If the man had been "honest" in the first place he wouldn't have waited until it was announced that no charges would be pressed before he turned in the pen -- the exact pen he knew it was -- in the first place.

It doesn't matter what the character of the property owner is; it's still his property, and not anyone else's.

Theft is theft; no one is entitled to it for any reason.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

GrayCat
GrayCat

Mr. Puddie wouldn't have to go through anything if he hadn't filched the pen in the first place.

Two weeks of investigation went by, then someone said charges wouldn't be pressed before Mr. Puddie did the right thing. He knew exactly which pen was being sought and why.

If it was something else more generally "recognized" as costing $450, would that REALLY change this incident of theft -- by a "security" agent?

GrayCat
GrayCat

If you can prove your allegations, then by all means do. That's your right.

It is also Mr. Case's right to have his private property safeguarded by "security" personnel there for no other purpose!

Theft isn't justified because the property owner is unpopular. It isn't justified in any case.

GrayCat
GrayCat

What would it have to be before it could be justified as theft? Anything else valued at $450 and stolen would be classified theft.

Maybe you should stop "picking up pens" during the day, since they don't RIGHTFULLY BELONG TO YOU?!

GrayCat
GrayCat

The man who takes what is not his ruins his own life.

GrayCat
GrayCat

So we really don't have equal rights? There are classes of people and categories of people it's okay to steal from?

REALLY?!

GrayCat
GrayCat

It's okay to steal from someone if you don't like them?

Why?

What about if someone doesn't like you: is it okay to steal anything from you? And would that be okay with you?

GrayCat
GrayCat

In the meantime, maybe Puddie shouldn't have taken what was not rightfully his in the first place?

GrayCat
GrayCat

Doesn't make it okay to steal from him -- or anyone else.

If you think you've been defrauded, prove it and press charges.

Defrauding you does not make it okay to steal from anyone else.

GrayCat
GrayCat

The fact of the matter is that a TSA agent -- someone supposedly entrusted to guard, secure, our persons and property -- took something that didn't belong to him.

You think that because TSA is to "secure" flight "safety," they are not accountable for also safeguarding passengers and their property?

What's it all about, again?

GrayCat
GrayCat

Yes, let's get our priorities right: the pen did not belong to Puddie, and he knew it.

Whether you would accuse the owners of casual sticky fingers of being thieves or not does not change the fact that they are. As are you, if you also walk off with someone else's property. It doesn't matter what the property is; it matters that it's not yours.

If you cared about other people, and respected them, you couldn't be so casual about it.

GrayCat
GrayCat

Taxpayers' money is being wasted on the TSA, without which this incident would never have happened.

The fact is Mr. Puddie knew exactly which pen was being looked for in the two weeks prior to his finally turning it in.

Mr. Puddie is a person ostensibly charged with safeguarding passengers and their property. Wouldn't you think he'd know better than to take anything lying around that didn't belong to him?!

GrayCat
GrayCat

If you cared about the issue of private property, you wouldn't be casually picking up and never returning pens (implies you know who their rightful owners are).

If you cared about your damn tax money you'd be trying to get rid of the malevolent government that is confiscating -- stealing -- your money to pay for this TSA farce in the first place.

It wasn't "just a pen." It was an item of personal property worth $450 that no one among those great protectors of our persons and property bothered to try to find the proper owner of.

If it was worth only $.50, Puddie still took something he knew didn't belong to him. And he knew exactly which pen was being sought for two weeks prior to his turning it in, and only did so when someone said charges wouldn't be pressed.

Theft is theft; it's time for it to be stopped. It's not just this one "little" isolated incident.

If Puddie didn't want his life ruined, he shouldn't have taken what was not his.

GrayCat
GrayCat

What if he weren't a "douche bag" but a kindly little old lady? If someone can pay for it, what's a $450 pen to you? If you can't pay for it, that's not their fault. Earn it.

If you don't want it, so what? That doesn't make you virtuous, and it doesn't give you license to pass judgment on someone who does and can pay for it.

Since when are there people who "deserve" to be stolen from?!

GrayCat
GrayCat

Maybe it's more a case of envy and basic dishonesty -- especially for someone charged with safeguarding our lives and property.

If you don't like "wealthy" people, don't be like them. Your not liking them, no matter what they may be wanting in, doesn't justify stealing from them -- even if the pen were only worth $.50. If it's not yours, and it's not voluntarily given to you, don't take it.

"Common goods" or "luxury goods" doesn't make a difference; if you didn't earn it or pay for it, it's not yours and you're not entitled to it.

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