Home / National News / Las Vegas Stowaway, 9, Cased Airport Security Ahead of Time


(HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minn.) — A 9-year-old boy who hopped a flight to Las Vegas from Minnesota had carefully planned the jaunt and practiced sneaking through security at Minneapolis International Airport, according to new details about his trip.

The boy also has a history of daring infractions, having been stopped for stealing a car and repeatedly slipping into a water park, according to a leaked health department memo.

The clever Hennepin County, Minn., youth started his latest adventure at Minneapolis International Airport last Wednesday when he did a “reconnaissance trip” at the airport by taking a piece of luggage from the bag claim area, eating at an airport restaurant, and then leaving the bag at the restaurant without paying, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The newspaper obtained new details about the unidentified boy’s journey from an email sent by Hennepin County health officials to County Board members about the child’s adventure and his past history. The county refused to release the email or confirm details to ABC News, saying it was leaked in a “breach.”

The following day, the boy returned to the airport, where his mother is an employee, and waited until a large family was going through a TSA security checkpoint. He then pretended to be part of the family as they went through security, according to the report.

The boy was then seen on surveillance video talking to a gate agent, waiting until the agent was distracted, and then walking down the ramp to the plane by himself. He boarded the Vegas-bound flight without anyone knowing, officials said.

Once the plane took off, airline staff realized that the boy’s name was not on a list of unaccompanied minors for the flight. Police met the plane in Las Vegas and took the boy into custody, at which point he became “violent” and was hospitalized, according to the email. A hearing will be held to determine when he will be sent back to Minnesota, the Star Tribune reported.

The email to Hennepin County Board members said that the boy recently stole a car and was arrested, and had a history of going to a Bloomington, Minn., water park where he waited until large families entered and then joined them.

The health official said that the boy’s mental health and safety would be evaluated by county authorities.

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