When an 80-year-old woman went through security at Myrtle Beach Airport in South Carolina on Feb.9, officers noticed something odd about her cane.
It had an elegant bronze handle, and when it was tugged and twisted slightly, the casing fell away to reveal an enormous hidden sword.
“She had no idea it was there,” said Mark Howell, a spokesman for America’s Transport Safety Administration (TSA).
The cane was a gift from her son, and she’d been leaning on it for years-- but she agreed to surrender the cane in order to make her flight.
“It happens a lot, actually,” Howell said about the agency routinely discovering hidden weaponry.
“People pick them up at a thrift store and the sword isn’t found until we X-ray it.”
According to the Charlotte Observer, a 57-year-old man was also arrested at the same airport on Monday after officers found a gun in his carry-on luggage.
He was charged and released on a $5,000 bond.
However, Howell stated that about 99 percent of the time, passengers don’t intentionally pack guns in their carry-on bags.
“The most common excuse is ‘oops, I forgot to take it out before I came to the airport,’ or their husband or wife packed the bag for them.”
According to the TSA website, seized items are simply “terminated” unless passengers arrange for them to be checked or mailed elsewhere.