Federal Charges For The Box Man

A New York City man was arrested for shipping himself as cargo in a way to save money AP / CBS

Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges Wednesday against a man who climbed into a crate and had himself shipped by air from New York to Dallas to visit his parents.

Charles D. McKinley was charged with stowing away on a cargo jet.

McKinley, a 25-year-old shipping clerk at a New York warehouse, journeyed overnight about 1,500 miles by truck, plane and delivery van before startling his parents by popping out of the box at their home Saturday.

McKinley's escapade occurred as Americans prepared to mark the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, and it renewed debate over the air cargo system's vulnerability to terrorists.

"It certainly shows that we have more work to do on cargo security," Asa Hutchinson, the Homeland Security Department's undersecretary for transportation security, told ABC.

Federal officials were perplexed how McKinley got past airport security at several points, and investigators with the Transportation Security Administration interviewed him in jail.

McKinley said he was homesick and looking for a cheap way to visit his parents when he wedged himself into a crate measuring 42 by 36 by 15 inches.

He said on Wednesday's "Today" show on NBC that he was already "scared and nervous" when he was nailed into the crate.

"This is the dumbest thing and the craziest thing I could ever do within my life," he added. "I was short of cash and truthfully I really should've waited."

McKinley was arrested and jailed on unrelated traffic and bad-check charges after the startled deliveryman called police in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto.

Several companies were involved in handling McKinley's crate, and all of them said they followed security procedures.

UPS picked it up at the warehouse where McKinley worked. Pilot Air Freight took the box to Kennedy Airport, then it was trucked to Newark, N.J., and loaded on a Kitty Hawk Cargo plane.

After stops in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and Fort Wayne, Ind., it landed in Dallas, where a deliveryman for Pilot Air Freight took it to the home of McKinley's parents.

CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan reports that while McKinley traveled aboard an all-freight jet operated by Kitty Hawk Cargo, 22 percent of the nation's packages travel on passenger planes instead.

Federal officials want to know how the stowaway bypassed airport security.

"Well, it is a concern, and we're still developing the facts in terms of what happened with the shipping company — were the proper security measures taken," Hutchinson said. "We have concentrated in recent months on protecting aircraft that carry people. We've also imposed security regulations on any aircraft weighing over 12,500 pounds.

"But we have more work to do."

  • Dan Collins

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