PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Four baggage handlers at Philadelphia International Airport have been accused of rummaging through passenger’s luggage and stealing their possessions.
According to sources, back in August, American Airlines officials received a spike in complaints about possessions being stolen from passenger’s luggage.
Police then set up secret surveillance cameras and allegedly witnessed four baggage handlers stealing items from suitcases and boxes.
The cameras were set up at the base of the conveyor belt that takes bags to the baggage claim carousels.
“With jobs as scarce as they are, why would you risk yours trying to steal other people’s valuables?” passenger Ralph Baker said.
Because the items stolen — like watches, jewelry, laptops and even prescription pills — had to be small enough to be hidden under clothing and because the baggage and boxes were resealed, police believe many passengers never realized that they were victimized.
Sources say the four suspects had a total of 30 years work experience among them and sources indicate police may never know just how far back the alleged scheme goes or how many victims there are.
The suspects remain behind bars.
American Airlines released the following statement regarding the incidents:
“We have more than 150 honest, hard-working employees in Philadelphia who do a great job serving our customers every day. We take these matters quite seriously, though, and have no patience for this type of behavior. We were actively involved in this investigation and worked closely with the Philadelphia Police, who did an excellent job. Any other information should come from them since this is now a police matter.”
If you are missing items after flying through Philadelphia on American Airlines, first file a claim with the airline by visiting www.aa.com and clicking on “contact us” and address your message to “Customer Relations”
Then, to file a police report in regards to this case in Philadelphia call 9-1-1, outside of Philadelphia call 215-686-1776.
Reported By: Walt Hunter, CBS 3; Elizabeth Hur, CBS 3