Man charged for shipping self in crate

| 9/12/2003

Federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against a man who climbed into a crate and had himself shipped by air from New York to Dallas, with a Fort Wayne, IN, stopover, to visit his parents.

Charles D. McKinley was charged with stowing away on a cargo jet. He could face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

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 journey renewed debate over the air cargo system's vulnerability. Federal officials want to know how McKinley got past airport security. McKinley said he was homesick and looking for a cheap way to visit his parents when he wedged himself into the small crate. McKinley was arrested and jailed on unrelated traffic and bad-check charges after the deliveryman called police in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto.

Several companies were involved in handling McKinley's crate, and all 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, NJ, and loaded on a Kitty Hawk Cargo plane. After stops in Niagara Falls, NY, and Fort Wayne, it landed in Dallas, where a deliveryman took it to the home of McKinley's parents.