Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Italy: Police Arrest 29 Baggage Handlers Following Large-Scale Theft from Airline Cargo Holds

According to The Associated Press, Italian police have arrested 29 airport baggage handlers accused of stealing cameras, smart-phones, laptops and other high-value effects from passengers' luggage, arrests made possible after surveillance cameras were installed in airplane cargo holds where the thefts occurred.

Italian national carrier, Alitalia, said Friday (May 3) that it cooperated with police at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci Airport and at Lamezia Terme International Airport (where the investigation began in 2011) and spread to a half-dozen airports across the country.

COMMENT: Investigators soon learned after the thefts began that the only location where the thefts could occur were in the aircraft cargo compartments. 

Police then installed temperature-and-pressure resistant surveillance cameras in the cargo holds and captured surveillance camera evidence of the thefts from passengers' luggage.

Airline passengers are again reminded to never place valuables (e.g., cameras, laptops, jewelry, electronic devices, etc.) in checked luggage and to transport all high-value merchandise in their carry-on luggage.

In an era where most airlines mandate that luggage be unlocked, for security screening purposes, it is particularly important for passengers to NOT place valuables in checked luggage. 

Increasingly, most airlines are now installing covert surveillance cameras in cargo holds in order to apprehend dishonest baggage handlers.

Airline passengers traveling with large amounts of luggage and high-value items would be well-served to insure the contents of their luggage, particularly those being assigned abroad.

As a matter of interest, http://www.safeware.com insures laptops, MP3 players, digital cameras, etc. on a worldwide basis.