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Airline Baggage Handlers Caught on Video Stealing from Passenger's Luggage [VIDEO]

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: May 07, 2013 03:47 PM EDT

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Think your luggage is safe after you check in at the airport? Think again. A video released by Italian police shows dozens of airline baggage handlers stealing from passenger's luggage.

In a hidden-camera sting, Italian police caught several baggage handlers taking items from bags and throwing out some bags that didn't contain valuables. The police had installed hidden cameras in the cargo holds of planes for the Italian airline Alitalia and they caught the thieves red-handed. The handlers stole items such as cameras, cellphones, cash and other valuables from customer's bags.

There are varying reports on how many handlers were arrested. According to The Associated Press, 29 people were arrested but other sources like the Telegraph and the Daily Mail said another 57 people were taken in to be questioned. Those involved were all Alitalia employees.

The airline cooperated with police and allowed them to place the camera at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport and about six other airports around the country in a sting that started in 2011. The project first began at Lamezia Terme, located south, in the toe of Italy's boot.

According to Lamezia Terme airport deputy police chief Ferruccio Martucci, airport investigators couldn't figure out how so many items were being stolen. They realized that the only place where handlers would be able to steal items without anyone noticing was in the cargo holds of the planes. Going with this theory, police installed temperature- and pressure-resistant cameras in the cargo areas of some of the Alitalia planes. Police were soon able to identify those who were carrying out the thefts. With the success of the first sting, they expanded the investigation to other airports.

The handlers may face up to six years in jail in convicted. According to CNN, the workers have been accused with criminal offenses including theft, aggravated theft and damage as some workers destroyed bags that they weren't able to get open out of spite.


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