Runaway Boy Arrested At Airport. Again.

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SEATAC – A Pierce County boy who got in trouble last year when he stole a car, got caught, then snuck onto a flight to Phoenix then San Antonio is back in the news again after being arrested at SeaTac Airport after trying to board another flight Tuesday.

The Transportation Security Administration claims that Semaj Booker was captured at a gate at SeaTac Airport after he failed to show a boarding pass.

Surveillance video shows Booker passed through the central checkpoint security area without any problems, but it’s still not clear how he managed to get through without a boarding pass. After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, it became a requirement to have a ticket when passing through security.

A TSA spokesperson says Booker was trying to board a Southwest Airlines flight, but it’s not immediately clear where he was trying to go or where in the airport he was finally caught.

The boy is back in his mother’s custody. A Tacoma Police spokesperson says his mother reported him missing at 3 a.m.

The TSA says it believes checks and balances are place to make the airport secure, but it will be reviewing security protocol.

In January 2007, then 9-year-old Semaj Booker got through airport security, boarded another Southwest Airlines flight by passing himself off as a 12-year-old whose mother was waiting for him in the boarding area. His information matched a paid ticketless reservation for the flight so agents gave him a boarding pass.

The boy’s mother said then he disliked the Lakewood neighborhood where the family lived and wanted to be with his grandfather in Dallas.

Before his odyssey last year, Booker was arrested after leading police on chase on Highway 512 at speeds up to 90 mph, finally ending in a crash. Once he was released back to his family, he ran away for his cross-country trip until his capture in Texas.

He was charged with car theft, attempting to elude a pursing police vehicle and driving without a license.


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