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Elderly Passengers Robbed At Philadelphia International Airport

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By Elizabeth Hur

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - An Eyewitness News exclusive – elderly passengers trying to catch a flight are robbed and the alleged thief was paid to help them.

Police say it happened at the Philadelphia International Airport. The suspect is just 21-years-old and her victims, police have identified so far, are 90-years-old.

Kathy Adams calls the arrest unfortunate. Adams frequently flies to Philadelphia for her brother, Oliver, who receives treatment here for lung cancer.

Adams of Windsor, CT. said, “Those four people out there did a fabulous and I’m grateful.”

Grateful for the curbside assistance because her brother is now too weak to walk on his own. So to hear Brittany Miller, hired to help those in need, was arrested this week for stealing from someone like her brother, Adams was disheartened.

“If anything they should be trying to give and do like these guys did out there and go the extra mile,” Adams said.

But police say twice in September, two 90-year-old passengers reported to TSA cash was missing from their wallets. The first incident was reported on September 4, 2012. The second victim reported the theft on September 20, 2012.

Investigators say surveillance video at metal detectors caught the 21-year-old red-handed. Miller, an employee of PrimeFlight Aviation Services, a company that provides facility and security services for air carriers and airports, later admitted she stole from as many as six passengers.

Seventy-eight-year-old traveler Marsha Daugherty of Columbus, IN said, “I think it’s terrible since people like us are very vulnerable.”

Daugherty’s 81-year-old husband, Forest added, “If you’re not on guard, you’re going to get victimized.”

So to prevent thefts like these, 3 On Your Side turned to police who offered the following tips for travelers in need of assistance:

1) State your preference to handle your valuables yourself.
2) If that’s not possible, insist that the assistant stays in your line of sight.
3) When reclaiming your possessions, be sure to count your money and account for other valuables.
4) Report any lost property immediately. Police say chances are, any theft was likely caught on tape.

Eyewitness News reached out to Miller’s employer, PrimeFlight Aviation Services, for comment but as of late Thursday night, no response.

Philadelphia police say on their end, the company has been cooperating fully and the company insisted police arrest Miller immediately.

Miller was arrested on Tuesday and charged with theft and related offenses.

Police say their investigation is continuing and are in the process of trying to identify additional victims.

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