Baggage Handlers Busted For Stealing Credit Cards, Laptops and Cigarettes

From the Seattle Times:

Two young baggage handlers who are accused of stealing everything from cigarettes to laptops to credit cards were arrested last week in two separate incidents that have airport officials looking into whether those thefts were just the tip of an iceberg.

Bob Parker, a spokesman for the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, said a 22-year-old man was arrested on Thursday last week after an investigation by Port of Seattle detectives into the suspect’s cigarette selling side business.

“He was selling a lot of cigarettes and detectives initially thought he was selling them for somebody who got them off a truck or something, but it turns out he was going through the luggage and taking anything he thought he could sell,” said Parker.

The other arrest came after a baggage handler tried to use a stolen credit card at a store and was identified via security camera footage. Both handlers work for Menzies Aviation, the same company whose employees were arrested after 68 pieces of luggage were found looted in a dumpster in Houston. A spokesman for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport claims that the problem is exacerbated when victims report problems to the airline, rather than the airport. “We find that people often make a claim for an item to the airline, but never report it to the airport or the police, and then we don’t know that a theft problem is developing,” said Parker. —MEGHANN MARCO

Two Sea-Tac baggage handler arrested for theft [Seattle Times] (Photo: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid)(Thanks, Kalun!)

Comments

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  1. Kornkob says:

    Seems to me that if people make a claim to the airline for a luggage problem that airline should be reporting it to the airport, not the consumer.

  2. robbie says:

    it would be easier to ask the airlines to forward reports of theft to the airport than to expect travelers to report crimes in a certain way, no?

  3. esqdork says:

    There are two types of airline luggage in this world: carry-on and lost (or in this case, stolen).

  4. molasses says:

    Yet another case of pass the buck, point the finger, and blame the consumer. Somehow the crime wave is not the airport’s fault! It is now the fault of those pesky consumers. Darn them.

  5. The Bigger Unit says:

    I’ve had my luggage lost so many times now, it’s to the point that I’ll jam/cram any valuables and my shirts into carry-on for long trips. My pants, socks and other small things go checked (harder to replace shirts than pants). This just confirms my paranoia.

    On the other hand, why on earth would someone put their laptop (or anything else of value) in checked baggage?!

  6. Fuck Lion says:

    Who checks their credit cards?

  7. some_stupid_nut says:

    My friend went on a trip to the Bahamas and they stole the memory card out of the camera. She said her mom cried for weeks because of it. They didn’t take the jewelry or anything, just all their pictures from the trip.

  8. xboxishuge says:

    Great, another reason to hate flying in to or out of Sea-Tac. Such a cool name, such a shit airport.

  9. Oh man, ‘Menzies’ is the name of the company. Grody.

  10. kcskater says:

    @some_stupid_nut – may she have been crying because of the content of the photos?

    I don’t think they’re playing a ‘blame the consumer’ game, but it definitely reveals an issue on non-communication between airlines and airport. I would’ve thought that there would be some sort of legal obligation for an airline to report a theft if a theft was reported to them. Maybe there is and they just suck at doing it?

  11. picantel says:

    Why on earth would anyone put their valuables in checked luggage?????

    That’s just asking for trouble. With all the lost, stolen, damaged luggages, I’d be absolutely paranoid to put anything of value in checked luggage.

  12. kerry says:

    @The Nature Boy -
    A few months back passengers were not allowed to carry any electronics on board, remember? I would imagine a great deal of business travelers checked their laptops while that rule was in effect.

  13. I’ve had to check my laptop before. It generally happens when I need to bring my work laptop and my personal laptop with me. I’ll check my personal laptop and carry on the other one…

  14. DeeJayQueue says:

    People like to check valuables because they don’t want the TSA poking around in there at a checkpoint. It’s a catch 22, you can either check everything and not have to go through a body cavity search at the gate, or you can piss everyone off by having a huge bag that they have to go through piece by piece to piss you off and set an example. There’s risk either way.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the average consumer to not know that the people handling their luggage are actually contracted by the airport and not the airline. Besides, how are you going to know something is stolen until you get where you’re going? I’d think I would have better odds of getting my stuff back by calling the airline who has multiple points of contact than a single airport hundreds of miles away.

  15. The Bigger Unit says:

    @kerry

    I don’t remember that. Granted, I don’t exactly fly every week…I flew on 6 flights in December, and was allowed to take my digital camera and cell phone on board, along with my credit cards.

    I’d be quite leery of checking a laptop or something like that…we’ve all seen how they literally just toss luggage around when loading and unloading planes.

    Anyway, my bad. Didn’t realize there was a point a few months ago where people couldn’t even take electronics on board an aircraft.

  16. grouse says:

    Why would I report lost luggage to the *airport* rather than the airline???

  17. silverlining says:

    @Grouse: no kidding. Is it really that tough for airlines to, I don’t know, tell the airport that a customer is missing something? Radical expectations, I guess.

  18. itchy feet says:

    The surest sign of an airport beginner is checking valuables. Beyond theft and loss (and government figures say losses went sky high *cough* last year), there’s damage, delay, someone else’s stash of honey leaking onto your bag, your luggage being picked up off the carousel by someone else, etc. There have even been reports of people FINDING TSA UNIFORMS in their luggage when they pick it up.

    God created carryons for electronics, medications, jewelry, financial instruments, film/memory cards, eyeglasses — and one change of underwear.

    As far as the reporting issue, the airports and airlines need to take care of that amongst themselves.

    But I bet they won’t.

  19. dayjayvw says:

    It amazes me in 2007, that there is really no garantee that your checked belongings are safe, wether expensive or not. We travel frequently, can you imagine the shock if some wetback swiped my sons mickey mouse out of his suitcase?

    Can you also imagine the day they told these thieves, “Hey starting today we’re allowed to ransack peoples checked bags looking for heroin, guns, cash, CC’s, porn, bombs, weapons of mass destruction, etc., just please make sure anything NOT dangerous you put back” Please?

    Give me a break. Can’t believe in this day and age your only defense against them is hiding your blackberry in thr crack of your ass.