Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Video - Nigerian man caught after working for 20 years at New Jersey airport with stolen identity of murdered man

Authorities say a longtime security supervisor at a New Jersey airport has been arrested on a charge he was using the identity of a New York City man who was murdered 20 years ago.

Illegal immigrant Bimbo Olumuyiwa Oyewole, 54, of Nigeria, was arrested on Monday at his home in Elizabeth.

His co-workers knew him as Jerry Thomas, a man who was murdered in New York City in 1992, the same year Oyewole allegedly assumed his name when he started working at the airport. 

It wasn't immediately clear how Thomas' personal information was acquired.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says Oyewole had worked at Newark Liberty International Airport for about 20 years and had passed background checks.

Oyewole allegedly had all the documents he needed, including a birth certificate and a social security card.

He had worked under several contractors at the airport, most recently FJC Security Services.

A message left Monday on Oyewole's home phone was not immediately returned, and the Port Authority said it wasn't sure if he had retained an attorney.

FJC Security, which received an airport contract in 2003, said it conducted a background check on the guard as had New Jersey state police and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

FJC spokesman Michael McKeon said: 'In all cases, he passed the background checks. 

'During his time with FJC, he had nothing in his record or his performance to indicate a cause for concern or a reason to question the state police and federal government's background checks.'

NorthJersey.com reported that the suspect supervised over 30 security guards and was allowed access to secure areas.

Authorities told the website that it appears he was using the bogus identity so that he could stay in the U.S.

While it doesn't appear that the arrest is terrorism-related, the arrest exposes a disastrous lapse in airport security.

Nigeria is also the origin of the underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who was convicted of trying to blow up a U.S.-bound jet on Christmas Day 2009.

An investigation by the Port Authority Inspector General's office was reportedly sparked by an anonymous tip about Oyewole.

Port Authority spokesman Steve Coleman told NorthJersey.com: 'The IG's office is looking into how he obtained the documents to maintain another person's identity.'

He was due in court later Monday to face charges including identity theft.

In a statement, the TSA said it was reviewing the Port Authority's procedures for validating employee and contractor documents.

'This investigation indicates that the individual's identification documents were presented to the Port Authority for verification about a decade before TSA existed," the statement said.


  • January 4: A dog carcass was brought onto a flight without being tested for explosives or disease.

  • January 16: A bag containing a knife was not discovered by TSA screeners.

  • January 30: An agent mishandled a bag after it had been X-rayed during a screening.

  • February 1: A person dodged officers and created an airport alert after walking through a disability gate.

  • February 3: Two fliers were permitted through security, even though a body scanner’s monitor wasn’t working properly.

  • February 21: A security breach was reported after a passenger entered a secure area after he was not screened correctly.

(Source: NJ.com)

State police spokesman Lt. Stephen Jones said New Jersey requires security guards to undergo training under the Security Officer Registration Act and be fingerprinted. 

The fingerprints are run through the state police criminal history database before a guard is certified.

A candidate is disqualified if he or she has a conviction for a fourth-degree offense or higher or a drug offense of any level, Jones said. Oyewole, as Thomas, was certified under SORA, he said.

A spokesman for Customs and Border Protection didn't immediately return a message seeking comment Monday.

An airport employee who was familiar with Oyewole as Thomas said the private security guards he supervised are responsible for manning TSA security checkpoints after passenger gates close for the evening and before they reopen in the morning. 

The guards also inspect delivery vehicles for possible unauthorized cargo, he said, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the matter.

A search of public records found evidence of a Bimbo Oyewole and a Jerry Thomas living at the address where Oyewole was arrested.

A report released Monday by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General found that only 42 per cent of reported security breaches from January 2010 to May 2011 led to corrective action, though it also found TSA had worked to improve its response.

Daily Mail

Related stories: Video - Trial of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

Umar Farouk 'Underpants Bomber' Abdulmutallab pleads guilty 

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