Skip to comments.Six Miami airport bag handlers charged with stealing from bags
Posted on 12/11/2002 8:08:04 PM PST by Nachum
MIAMI - A group of baggage handlers at Miami's airport was arrested Wednesday on federal charges they broke into the bags of British Airways passengers and stole personal belongings.
Valuables stolen included jewelry, personal electronics and other items. U.S. Attorney's Office spokeswoman Jacqueline Becerra said she could not immediately provide an estimate of the total value of the stolen belongings and did not know if any had been retrieved.
Jorge A. Benitez, Jose Leon, Onelio Vento, Javier Munoz, Pierre A. Bourdeau, and Maynor Hernandez were charged with a single felony conspiracy count for baggage thefts from British Airways passengers from Sept. 20 to Sept. 30, an indictment said.
Five of the six had been arrested by late Wednesday, according to Becerra, and the sixth handler was being sought. The men will have their first court appearance Wednesday.
The six are employees of Aircraft Services International Group (ASIG), a company contracted by British Airways to load and unload baggage for its flights.
The handlers are charged with conspiring to steal more than $1,000 worth of baggage contents from an airline, entering British Airways planes' bonded cargo holds to unlawfully remove baggage, and entering secure handling areas with the intent to commit a felony.
If convicted, each defendant could face up to five years in prison. There was no immediate information on the men's lawyers.
Anyone stupid enough to put "jewelry" and "personal electronics" in their checked baggage deserves everything they get.
It's looks like five Hispanics and a Frog Muncher stealing from a British airlines.
Does this not sound like a hate crime?
No good! Appears to be racial profiling again.They should have had at least a 30 day run before filing charges.
When it comes to people travelling for personal reasons I agree totally, but it's not possible in all cases. I had a friend lose a minidisc recorder from a LOCKED travel case at LAS in 2001 when he was going down there on business. Considering that there was a mixing board, mics, and some other stuff in there, he probably got off easy. There is no way that that case would qualify as carry-on. Too big.
Unfortunately for him, the minidisc was the only thing in there that was his personal property. Everything else belonged to his employer. He's positive that the theft occured in Las Vegas because his bag was the last one to the baggage claim, and didn't show up until several minutes after the bags of the other passengers arrived. Ir was never recovered.
I never check baggage if I can possibly avoid it. Not so much because of theft (although there is that) but because I like to be away from the airport and enjoying my trip ASAP. I've mastered the art of getting it all into carry-on. I can go away for a up to a week with everything I need (beachwear to semi-formal) in my carry-on!
I never said that. On the contrary, I hope the thieves are prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law. But, there is a legal concept called "mitigation of damages," and people who pack valuables such as jewelry and personal electronics in checked baggage are simply asking for their stuff to be stolen. It has been drummed into everybody's head pretty much since the Wright Brothers that baggage handlers steal, and it is silly to let high-dollar valuables out of one's immediate possession and control.
Another poster made a very good point that some valuable stuff (a mixing board and other large electronics in this case) is sometimes shipped via checked baggage. To which my answer is: read your ticket stub where it talks about the liability of the airline when it comes to cases of theft from said baggage. If memory serves correctly, the maximum that one can recover per bag is something like $700.00, even if you had the Hope Diamond in a stolen or rifled bag. If you have to ship stuff that valuable, do it via a secure carrier or parcel service where you can insure your valuables for the full amount; not via the airlines.
Of course they are. They
do the work steal things Americans won't. < /sarcasm>
I guess Pierre was allowed into this group so that they'd have someone who knows how to surrender to the authorities, come the eventual bust. Good thinking on their part; sounds like nobody got hurt.
I just remembered something. All of the equipment in the case had been engraved with the company's name and address. Didn't look very pretty, but it probably saved it from being taken. Regardless of airline liability the equipment was insured through an insurance policy. Any value over the airline liability limit would have been collected from the insurance company.
Obviously you can't simply mark your jewelry, but it's not a bad idea to burn your name and address onto the back of valuable electronics with a soldering iron even if you don't travel with them. The harder it is to turn over merchandise for cash, the less likely a thief will go for it.