Fake Air Marshal Busted by Real Ones

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Sure, it's nice to not have to worry about being late for your plane because you are a U.S. air marshal.  Turns out they will hold the plane for you and even let you on if the gate has already closed.  But if (1) you are only posing as a U.S. air marshal, and (2) there are genuine air marshals on the plane already, then you may have bigger things to worry about.

The Miami Herald reported on February 27 that Mark Rimkufski, late for a plane to Los Angeles, flashed a badge at American Airlines employees and said he was an air marshal.  The employees stopped the plane and let him on.  Unfortunately for him, real air marshals were already on that plane.

The report is pretty clear about there being more than one air marshal on the plane, but doesn't explain why.  I am sure there aren't enough air marshals to go around, and so it seems like they really shouldn't double up.  While the report doesn't say this, I am going to assume that the plane was completely full of air marshals on their way to an air-marshal convention, just because I like the thought of a fake air marshal trying to bluff his way onto a plane going to an air-marshal convention.

US air marshal badge For whatever reason, Rimkufski must have flashed his badge on the plane as well, because something prompted one or more of the air marshals to inspect it.  The badge did not read "Air Marshal" but rather "Fisher Island Chief of Police," and Rimkufski was kicked off the plane.  He was not, however, arrested, which still has not been explained.  I can't even joke about Osama bin Laden without being waterboarded, and this guy poses as an air marshal and walks away?  I think maybe this confirms my theory about the convention – if they were all in a hurry to get to Vegas, that might explain it.  But for whatever reason, Rimkufski was free to go.

But he didn't.  Pushing his luck, Rimkufski went to the "Admiral's Club" (raising another unsolved mystery — why they have an "Admiral's Club" at an airport) to have a drink and "loudly complain" about not being allowed onto the flight.  Whether he bragged about his fake badge and was reported by the other admirals or the air marshals had called the authorities is unclear, but airport police showed up at the bar and arrested Rimkufski.

It was probably an especially bad idea to get drunk and complain rather than making a getaway, since it turned out Rimkufski was carrying $14,000 in cash, also uses the alias "Harry Rimm," and was ultimately bound for Dubai.  No offense to Dubai, but that seems awfully suspicious.  For now, though, he is charged only with impersonating a law-enforcement officer.

There is no "Fisher Island Police Department," either.

Link: Miami Herald