Baggage handlers charged in thefts

March 2, 2009 4:36:31 PM PST
Ten baggage handlers have been accused of stealing electronics, jewelry and other items from luggage and a storage unit at Bradley International Airport. Eleven people were arrested over the weekend, including two baggage handlers who work for Delta Airlines and eight who were employed by Delta Global Services, a wholly owned subsidiary, state police said Monday. The other suspect is a family member of one of the workers, police said.

The investigation began in August after a passenger reported having an iPod stolen from a bag on a Delta flight.

In addition to the luggage thefts, police determined that a cargo storage unit at the airport had been burglarized. They recovered stolen items including laptop computers, flat-screen televisions, MP3 players, GPS units, jewelry and 5-foot wooden carved African masks.

"A substantial amount of property was recovered," said Lt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman.

Some of the workers handled baggage only for Delta, while others did so for other airlines, said Susan Elliot, a Delta spokeswoman. All 10 have been fired, she said.

The 11 people face various charges including larceny, burglary, circumventing security measures and tampering with evidence.

State police said more arrests were expected.

Elliot emphasized that thefts by employees are an extremely rare occurrence at the airline. She said Delta notified police when the thefts came to the company's attention. She would not say how long the employees had been working for Delta, or if any other employees were involved.

"That's all part of the investigation," she said.

Three suspects were arraigned Monday afternoon. The rest are scheduled to appear in court on March 12.


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