More than a dozen baggage handlers who work at Los Angeles International Airport have been accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of items from travellers’ luggage in what might be the biggest baggage heist in the airport’s history, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Stolen property includes electronics, jewelry, and other high-priced items.
Airport employees stealing items from passengers is a troubling trend. In 2012, a former Transportation Security Administration agent who was sentenced to three years in prison for stealing from passengers’ luggage said theft is common.
Police only found out about the operation once they noticed that one contracted baggage had reported more thefts in their terminals than others.
The thefts occurred mostly at Terminal 4 and Tom Bradley International Terminal.
At least 14 baggage handlers worked together over several months to pull off the thefts, police say. LAX police arrested six workers and detained eight, according to the LA Times. Additional arrests are expected.
The baggage handlers work for Menzies Aviation, a company that is contracted by airlines to handle luggage.
Footage released by the Port Authority of New York last year showed evidence of this — secret cameras installed on planes revealed baggage handlers rifling through bags and stealing things.
Mail is also an issue. Earlier this month, five baggage handlers who loaded mail onto international flights at Kennedy International Airport were arrested for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of checks, credit cards and money orders, The New York Times reports.
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