Baggage Handlers Stole Pricey Items: Police

LA cops serve 25 warrants against 'colluding' workers

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 27, 2014 6:44 PM CDT

(Newser) – Police have arrested six baggage handlers and detained eight others to crack an alleged theft operation at LA International Airport—likely the biggest in its history, the LA Times reports. Police say travelers lost "thousands upon thousands of dollars" as handlers stole jewelry, electronics, and other items from luggage moving mostly through two airport terminals. "At any airport there are always thefts of baggage, but we knew this was prevalent at Bradley and Terminal 4," said Pat Gannon, an LA airports police chief.

After a months-long investigation, police served 25 warrants today at the airport and several homes across South Los Angeles county, seizing items like clothes and jewelery, NBC Los Angeles reports. The thieves allegedly searched bags for items at the end of a complex conveyor-belt system where luggage was loaded onto carts. Police clued in because one baggage-handling company, Menzies Aviation, had more reported thefts than any other. Menzies released a statement saying the suspects were "limited to a handful of employees," and Gannon nearly agreed, saying that "there was a lot collusion but not an organized ring."

Passengers are shown getting checked in before a flight Thursday March 27, 2014 at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles.
Passengers are shown getting checked in before a flight Thursday March 27, 2014 at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
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