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TSA Warning Against Concealed Credit Card Knives

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DENVER (CBS4)- Credit card knives are the latest concealed weapons that are stopping up the security lines at Denver International Airport.

Transportation Safety Administration agents say they’re seeing them more and more frequently as people try to get to the gate to board their plane.

“I believe that people have forgotten…not thinking,” said Desmond Sarnella, a supervisory transportation security officer with the TSA.

There are a couple of versions of the credit card knife. One has a blade as part of a credit card-sized multi-tool, that also includes a pick, a magnifying glass, and a compass. Another floods from the credit card sheath to a utility knife with a handle.

Credit: CBS)

Credit: CBS)

“It’s got an extremely sharp blade that goes to it,” Sarnella told CBS4 as he demonstrated the tool.

The blade is sharp enough to cut through a tennis ball according to online promotional videos posted by the makers of the knives.

TSA posted its first warning about these knives earlier this year. When the summer travel season kicked into high gear, so did the instances of finding these knives at airport check points. In a warning issued on June 27, TSA reports finding 61 of the blades in one week at airports across the nation.

Sarnella says that detecting the blades is not as hard as you might think, even if it’s concealed in a wallet.

“It’s actually fairly easy because the design of the blade is such that when it comes through we can see the blade and know exactly what it is,” he said.

While credit card knives are common at the airport, CBS4 had a hard time finding them for sale in the Denver metro area. Several online retailers carry them, but CBS4 could not find any for sale at knife or sporting goods stores here. A CBS4 producer was able to buy one from an online dealer found on a website called armslist.com. The producer met the seller in a parking lot and bought three of the knives for 10 dollars.

Credit card knives are not illegal, and neither was the CBS4 purchase of one. But they are not allowed on airplanes.

“All knives of any size are prohibited from coming into the check point,” Sarnella said.

TSA says they believe travelers just forget they’re carrying them and they want to make sure people keep their property. Sarnella advises

–Check the TSA Prohibited Items List on their website.

–Check your items more than once.

–Empty your bags completely before you pack them.

–Put prohibited items in your checked luggage.

He says agents don’t want to take personal property and offer travelers every chance deal with prohibited items before taking them.

“Right on the check line, we have mailers that are available, so somebody can go out to a mailer or the post office upstairs and mail the item back,” Sarnella explained.

He says they also encourage travelers to take prohibited items back to their car, or give them to someone outside of the security line.

–Written for CBSDenver.com by Special Projects Producer Libby Smith

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