A federal air marshal was arrested at Nashville International Airport Thursday after he was caught taking photographs up passengers' skirts.
According to a police affidavit, a witness grabbed Adam Bartsch's cell phone and notified a flight attendant.
Rey Collazo told News 2 exclusively he first saw Bartsch taking photographs while boarding the plane. He did not know he was an on-duty air marshal at the time.
“I just reached over with my left hand and grabbed it, struggled with him a little bit and I got the better part of the phone and twisted and hit him with my right hand between the neck and the shoulder. Shoved him back and I took the phone,” Collazo said.
He added, “I looked at the guy and said, ‘Excuse me, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. A disgrace to a human being, to a man, that's wrong.'”
Bartsch, 28, was removed from Southwest flight No. 3132 and taken into police custody. He admitted to taking 10 to 12 pictures up women's skirts.
Bartsch told police he had taken similar photos more than a dozen times in the past.
In a statement late Thursday afternoon, the Transportation Security Administration said, “TSA does not tolerate criminal behavior. The agency immediately removed this individual from his current duties and is in the process of suspending or terminating his employment. TSA continues to assist with the investigation.”
A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines said, in part, “We turned the matter over to local law enforcement and the passenger did not travel as scheduled. The rest of the passengers and crew continued on to Tampa as scheduled.”
Bartsch is charged with disorderly conduct. He was booked into the Metro jail and released on $10,000 bond just after 9:30 p.m.
News 2's cameras were rolling as Bartsch was released. He declined to answer questions and ran to a nearby bail bonding office.
Sources told Nashville's News 2 he was”very nice, pleasant and seemed perfectly normal” following his arrest.
Bartsch, his wife and their young child reside in Maryland. Neighbors there said they were shocked to learn of his arrest.
“He seemed like a nice guy. Every time I saw him he looked real calm. We'd briefly talk and that was it,” one neighbor said.
Bartsch stayed at the Music City Sheraton on McGavock Pike in Nashville overnight Thursday. According to hotel staff, he checked out at 10:19 a.m. Friday.
Nashville's News 2 contacted Bartsch by phone and left a message but he did not return our call.
There was no immediate word on when he would return to Maryland or how.
Bartsch is due in court in Nashville November 14.