TIME Crime

LAX Baggage Handlers Pilfered From Luggage for Months, Police Say

LAX Luggage Thefts
A passenger enters the terminal Thursday March 27, 2014 at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles. Police say six people were arrested Wednesday March 26, 2014, after officers served more than two dozen search warrants after a months-long investigation into baggage theft at Los Angeles International Airport. Nick Ut—AP

Baggage handlers pilfered electronics and jewelry among other possessions for months, authorities say, in what is perhaps the largest baggage theft operation in the history of the airport. Many of the hot items, whose monetary value is yet unknown, ended up on Craigslist

Authorities said Thursday that they suspect at least 14 baggage handlers at Los Angeles International Airport of stealing thousands of dollars of items from luggage over the course of months.

In what is probably the largest baggage theft operation in the history of the airport, handlers stole electronics and jewelry among, other possessions, police said. The thieves allegedly sold many of the items that they stole from secure areas of the airport on Craigslist, the Los Angeles Times reports. Police do not yet know the total monetary value of everything stolen.

Police have arrested six LAX workers and detained another eight workers after obtaining 25 search warrants for the homes and lockers of the suspects. “We have multiple companies that deal with baggage at the airport for airlines. But one company had more reported thefts in their terminals than the others and so we began investigating their baggage workers,” Los Angeles International Airports Police Chief Pat Gannon said, according to the Times. “At any airport there are always theft of baggage, but we knew this was prevalent at Bradley and Terminal 4.”

Despite the number of suspects, authorities believed that there wasn’t a conspiracy. “I think there was a lot collusion but not an organized ring,” Gannon said. “The investigators believe there was a group who took advantage of the opportunities.”

[Los Angeles Times]

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser