Published May 14, 2012
A longtime New Jersey airport security supervisor -- arrested on a charge of impersonating someone else to hide his illegal immigrant status -- was carrying the identity of a victim in an unsolved murder case, authorities said.
Nigerian Bimbo Olumuyiwa Oyewole was known by his co-workers as Jerry Thomas. He was arrested Monday at his home in Elizabeth.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says he had worked at Newark's Liberty International Airport for about 20 years and had passed background checks. It says he used the name Jerry Thomas since 1992, the year Thomas was killed in New York City.
The Port Authority said Oyewole entered the United States illegally in 1989, and would then later work for security contractors Lance, Gateway, Hanes, and FJC, where he was responsible for overseeing the work of 30 guards.
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.
New Jersey 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 search of public records found evidence of a Bimbo Oyewole and a Jerry Thomas living at the address where Oyewole was arrested. The Port Authority investigated Oyewole's true identity after receiving an anonymous tip.
Police in New York didn't say whether Oyewole was a suspect in the July 20, 1992, killing of Thomas in Queens. The Port Authority said its investigation found no indication that he used the fake identity for any reason other than to live in the United States.
It's unclear when he is to appear in court to face charges including identity theft or if he has a lawyer.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.