Phoenix police investigating airport thefts - East Valley Tribune: Phoenix & The Valley Of The Sun

Phoenix police investigating airport thefts

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Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 8:18 am | Updated: 12:10 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

PHOENIX - Phoenix police are investigating complaints of someone snatching items out of luggage at Sky Harbor International Airport.

Police said the complaints came from passengers whose luggage was either loaded or unloaded out of the airport's Terminal 3.

Police were investigating a possible theft ring made up of airport ramp workers who pilfered valuable electronics and other personal items from luggage belonging to Delta Air Lines passengers.

Seven workers from contractor Airport Terminal Services Inc. no longer handle bags for Delta, said Atlanta-based airline spokesman Anthony Black. "They aren't working with us on the ramp," Black said of the workers.

Black added it's unclear if ATS has suspended or fired the employees.

So far, no arrests have been made, but Phoenix police have already recovered some stolen goods including laptops, cameras and MP3 players, said Phoenix police Detective Reuben Gonzales.

The thefts may have taken place when ATS workers were transporting bags between planes and Terminal 3, Gonzales said.

"Within the last month (police) gathered complaints from passengers who said that they may be missing property out of their baggage," Gonzales said.

Police interviewed workers and found some suspected stolen goods, he added.

"Some travelers may not even realize that the items are stolen," Gonzales said.

The case was still under investigation and Gonzales was unable to give a clear time frame on when the thefts occurred. The suspected thieves could face state and federal charges.

Black said, to his knowledge, Delta was the only airline that uses Airport Terminal Services.

"We are vigilant about making sure that people's belongings are safe when they are in Sky Harbor, said Claire Simeone, an airport spokeswoman. "We take a lot of security measures, people may see them, and there are layers that people don't see."

No one at the Phoenix office of Airport Terminal Services would comment on the investigation.

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