Rick Case Versus the TSA: Is Failing to Return Something the Same as Stealing?

Categories: Crime
Defense attorney Leland Garvin may take Puddie's case to trial.
Say you're a defense lawyer. How do you prepare to try a case in which your client signed away his Miranda rights and confessed to a crime?

In the case of Toussain Puddie, the TSA screener who took home Rick Case's pen (detailed in our most recent cover story), denying guilt pretty much isn't an option. Lawyer Leland Garvin says that at this time, he doesn't plan on moving to suppress the page or so of interview transcript in which Puddie basically says he took the pen.

But Puddie's guilt could still hinge on how that's interpreted -- and what a jury makes of the fact that he didn't find out who owned the pen until afterward.

The case might go to trial if Garvin and Puddie do not end up accepting a deal that was offered by the state, in which Puddie would plead guilty, write a letter of apology, and go on probation for a year. The endgame to that option is a long series of legal fees, bureaucratic hoops, and applications that could result in a judge's expunging Puddie's criminal record.

If the case goes to trial, Garvin is hoping that a jury would sympathize with Puddie as he broke down in the interrogation room, openly admitting that he had taken the pen.

"Yeah. I had the pen."

"OK, and why did you not return it at that time?"

"I was scared."

"Have you ever done anything like this before?"


"Can you tell me why you did this?"

"I don't know. The pen is a, the pen is, the pen is a g... nice pen."

As our story was being written, Garvin was reading up on case law about grand theft. The definition of the crime requires an intent to knowingly deprive someone of his or her property. But Puddie didn't know who the pen belonged to when he took it -- it was just an anonymous lost object. But as you can see above, he admitted to keeping it after he did learn that someone was looking for it.

So can theft be retroactive and apply to keeping something? The verb the law uses is acquire. If one can knowingly acquire something by failing to return it, that could lend weight to the case against Puddie. 

It's all incredibly complicated for a simple pen. Read the story (possibly the longest ever written about a missing pen) here.

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Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

So Rick Case is going to ruin this guys life all over a damned pen?  And for all of you railing against the TSA, yes they are intrusive and annoying, but what if YOU found this pen on the ground?  Think about it.Case is throwing a temper tantrum over nothing.  He left the pen there and is now all upset someone used it for a few days.  If he has used his head, he would have left his damned expensive pen AT HOME, so it would NOT get left somewhere.I cannot even count the number of pens I have left all over the country.  Thats why I use a nice, cheap Bic.These charges should never have come up.  Its Rick Case who is negligent in this case for leaving his crap.  Drop these inane charges.


What if someone were to claim ownership to a 100 dollar bill, that you acquired from the floor of an airport. Could that be considered stealing if he did not return it. It was innocent in his initial intentions.


In less than a year there have been sixty two TSA screeners charged with serious crimes including ten for child sex crimes, four for smuggling and one for murder. There have been over a dozen arrested for stealing over $800,000 from passengers. It seems to be a way of life for TSA workers and this one should get the maximum penalty as an example to other TSA thieves.

This agency is nothing more than a jobs program for criminals posing as airport security.


All thugs should be allowed to steal anything they want.  How dare people want to keep what they've earned?  We need to start this concept with all the stuff City Activist Robert Walsh owns.  I bet he changes his tune 10 seconds after his stuff goes missing.

City Activist Robert Walsh
City Activist Robert Walsh

i mean what a piece of shit in plain english(rick Case).i mean Mr.case sends his daughter down there to investigate while he's in Colorado. Give another campaign donation to Lamberti there.I mean from him, th ewife down to the kids. yuup all giving money to Lamberti. What service. Hope your happy Mr.Case you got the guy fired.To the lawyer have the defendant confession thrown  out. he was never given his Miranda rights, secoudly they (BSO) also never stated that  he was under investigation. Fight it. bring out the fact that Case here got special treatment .

Stefan Kamph
Stefan Kamph

He was in fact "given his Miranda rights," but waived them before the interrogation.

Fat Hand
Fat Hand

I guess it's the holy grail of pens.

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