A couple of surprises stand out about an airline baggage-handler theft ring broken up by police at Portland International Airport, says The Oregonian. One is that travelers pack so many valuables in their checked luggage. Investigators recovered hundreds of pilfered items ranging from laptops and digital cameras to jewelry and designer handbags. The other surprise is that the alleged looting by two Northwest Airlines baggage handlers went on for at least two years under the very noses of company managers.
The thievery was discovered only when a baggage supervisor, now accused of being part of the scheme, reported it to police when she was no longer getting her share of the loot. Baggage handlers under contract for most major airlines have been busted on theft charges at airports in every corner of the U.S. in the past two years. From the time the federal Transportation Security Administration began requiring checked luggage to be unlocked in 2003, the agency has received nearly 70,000 complaints of pilfering from bags.