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Airports

Airport Theft Ring Under Police Investigation

Airport Theft Ring Under Police Investigation
Luciana Mangas

A theft ring operating in a major U.S. airport is under investigation, CNN reports. The detectives leading this investigation say this appears to be a widespread operation involving airport and airline employees and supervisors who target items left behind by passengers.

An airport employee was caught recently and is cooperating with the police in order to not go to jail.

“In my mind, I say OK, everybody takes it, why not me? I see these expensive things,” the worker told CNN in an exclusive interview. “When I find something, they tell me, when you want to take it, take it. Don’t report it. (If you) want to report it, that’s your option.”

The thieves usually target electronics left behind on seatbacks, seat cushions and overhead compartments. The worker says she takes does so because it’s easy. “Every day, the customers, the passengers leave… articles, different things. Sometimes IDs, sometimes money, sometimes electronics, sometimes toys. Mostly iPads, Kindles, electronics every day.”

The police are calling these theft rings an insider threat at airports all over America. Although stealing forgotten objects doesn’t seem an imminent threat, airport police officials say that any crime committed by airport employees is considered a risk because they have access to secure areas as well as the planes.

Furthermore, police caution that criminals or terrorists could target a vulnerable employee. Earlier this month, a Delta ramp agent was arrested in Palm Beach for carrying over $200,000 dollars in a backpack. He said he had been paid to deliver the backpack to someone in the airport.

“It starts out with small things. They’ll go onboard an aircraft and then it starts to grow,” the detective said. “We have developed information from a lot of individuals that identify potential organized thefts. We are trying to send a message that employees that are honest and decent deserve to be respected, and those that aren’t need to be removed from the environment because they lead to other compromises at the airport.”

[Photo: Lucas Jackson / Reuters]

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