|Luggage thieves busted at Los Angeles airport, four held for keeping stolen items
A US$15,000 camera, Gucci bags, name-brand clothing, electronics and jewelry are among the thousands of dollars in valuables stolen by baggage handlers at Los Angeles International Airport, (Pictured) police said.
Police served more than two dozen search warrants and made six arrests Wednesday night after a months-long investigation in what was the largest baggage-theft operation in the airport's history, Los Angeles Police Department said.
Those arrested were primarily employees or ex-employees of companies contracted to handle luggage and did not work directly for the airport, airport police said.
The suspects worked for three contracting companies, including Menzies Aviation.
The alleged crimes “were limited to a handful of employees, acting independently,'' the company, which has an office at the airport, said in a statement.
Four suspects were taken into custody on suspicion of receiving stolen property and two for outstanding warrants. A total of 14 people were detained.
Police said that while some thieves worked together, most acted on their own seizing opportunities to pocket items from luggage in transit.
Detectives were still working to determine how much had been recovered, but many expensive items, including a US$15,000 camera, were seized during the raids. The camera belonged to a photographer who was on his way to Africa and reported it stolen in San Francisco. But truly, it was stolen in LAX police said.
Most of the police activity was at the Tom Bradley International Terminal and at Terminal 4, which handles American Airlines, American Eagle and some Qantas flights.
Every year about 55 million pieces of luggage are checked at LAX, which served nearly 67 million passengers last year.