Another Batch Of Baggage Handlers Accused Of Stealing From Luggage; Because Airport 'Security' Isn't
from the shopping-for-your-goods dept
Just last week I flew into JFK airport’s terminal 4, and thankfully I only had carry-on luggage, because this morning I read that seven baggage handlers from JFK — working in terminals 4 and 7 — have been arrested for stealing stuff from people’s luggage. And doing so without much fear of getting caught (even if they were, eventually):
According to the criminal complaints, between March 2012 and June 2014, the defendants stole Apple iPads, iPhones and MacBook computers; Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets; Dell, Toshiba and ASUS laptops; and other electronic items, as well as a pair of two-carat diamond-and-gold earrings. The complaint said the items were taken from passengers’ checked luggage, and all but two of the defendants are alleged to have contacted a “fence,” who actually was an undercover police officer.
The defendants named their prices, set up meetings on airport grounds or nearby, and even made promises about other items that they could steal, the complaint said.
Now, if this were a one time thing, it might not even be that noteworthy. But this seems like fairly common practice at airports. A few years ago, we wrote about TSA agents stealing iPads and stories of TSA agents and baggage handlers stealing stuff from luggage are not at all hard to find. In fact, reports from a few years ago noted that over 400 TSA employees have been fired for stealing from passnegers in the past decade.
And related stories are all over the place. Hell, back in March, another group of JFK baggage handlers were arrested. On nearly the same day, it looks like a similar theft ring involving baggage handlers at LAX was broken up. Even more recently, a similar theft ring at New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport. Amateur sleuths were needed to bust up a baggage handler theft ring in Charleston, South Carolina. A WSJ article from a few years ago details a long list of baggage handler thefts from a wide range of airports.
And it’s not just baggage handlers, but the TSA itself, who (we’re told) is supposed to be protecting us from bad people. Here’s $8,500 stolen from a bag. Here’s a TSA officer stealing a computer. Here’s a TSA agent swiping $36 from a passenger. A few years ago, a convicted TSA agent, who admitted to stealing $800,000 from passengers at Newark Airport in New Jersey, spoke out about just how common theft was among the TSA:
“It was very commonplace, very,” said Pythias Brown, a former TSA officer at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey who admits he stole more than $800,000 worth of items from luggage and security checkpoints over a four-year period.
“It was very convenient to steal,” he said.
Speaking publicly for the first time after being released from prison, Brown told ABC News his four-year-long crime spree came to an end only because he tried to sell a camera he stole from the luggage of a CNN producer on E-bay but forgot to remove all of the news networks’ identifying stickers.
“It became so easy, I got complacent,” Brown said.
All of this should raise a variety of questions about airport security. We’re told that these people are there to protect us, but it seems that they’re not able to do that. At all. Hell, as Amy Alkon points out, if it’s so damn easy to take stuff out of people’s bags, you know it’s pretty easy to put stuff in as well. And, of course, this has been going on for years. Many of those links above are more recent, but plenty are from years past and it doesn’t seem like anything has changed very much. Airport “security” remains security theater at the best of times, but it’s even worse when it’s actually putting people at more risk.