Tampa Bay man's memento confiscated by TSA

Posted at 5:17 PM, Sep 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-18 17:17:14-04

Traveling in general is stressful, and then you add all the rules at the airport.

With so many prohibited items, sometimes travelers make mistakes. Like last year 49 guns were confiscated from carry-ons at Tampa International Airport.

A local man says his mistake through security is costing him a lot more.

In Temple Terrace, Joey Affronti looks back at his step-father’s decorated past.

“This is the flight jacket that he used to wear when he flew,” said Affronti.

Graduating from West Point, he says, Robert Beyer, who everyone called Gramps, flew 200 missions in Vietnam.

“Ever since he graduated West Point, his goal was to get back to West Point and he kept his jacket hoping to get a call,” said Affronti.

Passing away at the age of 83 Gramps final wish was fulfilled.

“He just loved it there so much. Now his wish came true and he will be there forever,” said Affronti.

At the funeral, Affronti says, each family member got a shell casing from the gun salute.

“You can see its hollow, there's nothing in it, it's already been shot,” Affronti said while showing us his mother’s casing.

As for his, he accidently left it in his jacket pocket when he went through airport security on his way back to Tampa from JFK.

“This is what I showed the TSA agents, just to back up what I was saying that the shell came from a military funeral.”

Even with the evidence, TSA officials confiscated it.

“I broke down crying, walking through the airport crying. Then my mom got upset because she was worried about the shell casings that were in her flag and worried they were going to go through it and pull her flag apart,” said Affronti.

It left him with an empty feeling.

“I kind of feel like I let him down,” said Affronti.

Now just like Gramps did, he is on his own mission, a mission to get the last memory of his step-dad back.

“That's all I want is my shell casing back. That's the last thing I have of Gramps,” said Affronti.

TSA claims items that are confiscated are logged into a system. Right now JFK officials are searching for the shell casing. No word if it has been found, yet.

But it brings up a good point. If you do bring prohibited items through security like a knife from a wedding cake or maybe your grandpa’s knife, what do you do?

There are a few options:

  • Take the item to the ticket counter and check it in your bag
  • Many airports have a postal service to ship items home
  • If your car is parked in a garage put it in there