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Hidden Cameras Catch Airport Employees Stealing Your Stuff

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Published on: April 14, 2015

Miami-Dade Police Department set up a camera sting to catch thieves at Miami International Airport, who were getting a five finger discount from the belongings of passengers. But the problem is nationwide.

Local reports:

“It’s a problem we all face,” said police Lt. Pete Estis. “We will continue to be proactive until we can see that the claims of pilfering through luggage will actually decrease.”

And these insider thefts just don’t happen in Miami. A CNN analysis of passenger property loss claims filed with the TSA from 2010 to 2014 shows 30,621 claims of missing valuables, mostly packed in checked luggage. The rest occurred at security checkpoints. Total property loss claimed: $2.5 million.

John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York topped the list of airports with the most claims of thefts from luggage, followed by Los Angeles International, Orlando International and Miami International, according to the data.

The problem has been so serious at JFK that in 2013, El Al Airlines set up a hidden camera in a baggage hold. The camera showed baggage handlers stealing items on flights bound for Israel, including a $5,000 Seiko watch, iPhones, an iPad, cameras, gold rings and cash. Six of those arrested pleaded guilty to possession of stolen property or petty larceny and the seventh suspect’s case was sealed, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office.

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So, what was the response of the thieves who were caught? Apparently, they were shocked they had been caught.

From baggage handlers to security guards, several airport employees were caught red handed.

According to the report, in the past five years, nearly 31,000 claims of items missing from luggage were filed with the Transportation Security Administration. Out of those 31,000, 25,000 of the valuables missing were from checked bags. The rest of those left were taken during the TSA checkpoint (you know those unconstitutional Fourth Amendment violation points in airports?). So, this isn’t just an airport employee issue, it’s a federal employee issue. In fact, 513 TSA officers have been fired for theft since 2002.

We’ve reported on several of the thefts concerning TSA employees such as $500 that was stolen from a man who simply complained and the story of a TSA officer who stole $200,000 a year, who revealed his secrets to his crimes.

The total that has been determined to have been stolen is at least $2.5 million!

LA Police Chief Pat Gannon, who works Los Angeles International Airport said, “We cut theft in those two terminals by 60 percent because of doing that aggressive investigative work.”

Of course, while the thefts may be considered “petty” by most people, Gannon says that they could lead to more serious problems.

“I think it’s a breakdown in their moral fiber and that’s why we take it very seriously here,” he added.

“I absolutely think that if we don’t pay attention to the small things that happen around here that it could lead to much larger things. So there is, I believe, a connection between baggage theft and terrorism,” Gannon said.

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