By Elizabeth Hur
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Theft on the plane. Eyewitness News uncovered exclusive details about a cleaning crew that police say helped themselves to a passenger’s ID and money.
If you’ve ever flown across the country or even overseas, as was the case for the victim in this story, you know that by the time you get home, you are beat. Now imagine getting a call from your bank, telling you someone used your debit card to make purchases worth more than $1000.
“I was really shocked and saddened.”
Rachael Beasley talked to Eyewitness News via Skype and went onto explain that she was flying from Frankford, Germany to Virginia with a layover in Philadelphia. She quickly learned it was at Philadelphia International Airport that she fell victim on February 18th. Her bank, USAA Bank, notified her the next day.
Beasley said, “I actually had everything, my passport, my plane tickets, my driver’s license and credit card in a travel organizer.”
Turns out, someone somehow took of Beasley’s bank card and driver’s license. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for Philadelphia police at the airport to zero in on the suspects.
Lt. Louis Liberati explained, “We determined that a purchase was made at the stores upstairs, and it was made by employees of a company that actually cleans the aircrafts. Five individuals who were observed leaving the terminals with bags from that particular outlet, it just so happens that those individuals were the assigned people to clean that particular aircraft.”
According to police, the five individuals were employees of Prospect Airport Services. The suspects were identified by police as Michelle Sampson, Vernice Robinson, Keyana Nelson, Sakya Geer and Amber Moore.
“It is a shame. When you travel, you’d like to think you’re secure with your property,” Lt. Liberati said.
Beasley added, “I just can’t thank Philadelphia Police enough. I’m just glad it happened in the way it did to bring it to closure, so that they’re not doing this to anybody else.”
When reached for comment, Suzanne M. Mucklow, Esq., the in-house counsel for Prospect Airport Services, Inc. released the following statement:
“Because airports are highly secured, all prospective employees are subject to an extensive background check as required by federal law. Individuals who are denied the credentials necessary to access secured areas of the airport cannot work for our company. The company takes the allegations involved very seriously and is cooperating fully with law enforcement on its investigation. We will follow our policies in addressing this matter internally. If these allegations are true, we believe the actions of a few should not reflect on the integrity of our entire workforce at the Philadelphia International Airport.”
Lt. Liberati explained, “Three of them reported for work last night, they were gathered up by their employer and police went to that office made the arrest of three.”
Police say the remaining two suspects surrendered on Wednesday. All five have been charged, according to police, with ID Theft, Forgery, Theft and related offenses.