Here is a story of a ground staff employee at an airport who stole from over 70 passengers and was finally caught, thanks to a modern feature of some headphones.
Airport Ground Staff Employee Stole from At Least 70 Passengers
This story comes from Athens International airport and concerns an employee of one of their contract companies handling ground operations (baggage, some customer support, etc). I am not sure what had happened with the previous victims of this thefts (as far as if they reported things stolen to police in Athens or if they were not sure where the theft happened). But, one passenger flying from Athens to Tel Aviv contacted authorities when she only received one of there two suitcases.
Inside that suitcase had been a pair of Apple headphones. These have FindMy technology that lets you locate them similar to Apple’s AirTag devices. Thankfully, there are several headphones now that do have tracking features (headphones and earbuds from Apple use the FindMy technology while other manufacturers like Bose and others have similar features for finding headphones when they have been lost).
The police were able to use the tracking signal from these headphones to find them at the house of the airport ground staff employee’s house. According to the man, he had taken them from a bag at lost and found (presumably, he did the same with other bags there as well).
In addition to finding the headphones, he also confessed to other thefts that he had made during his time at the airport as well, including a brand new iPhone (which costs €1,549 in Greece) and gave it to his wife for Christmas (reportedly, she knew about his actions).
According to the news story, here is a list of the items that police found when they searched the man’s house: 19 portable audio playback speakers, 41 external hard drives, 35 mobile phones, 2 laptops, 16 tablets, 95 USB sticks, 1 digital camera, 13 purses, 41 wristwatches, 47 women’s handbags, 23 pairs of sunglasses, 13 wallets, 150 packs of cigarettes, 43 cigars, 23 packs of tobacco and jewelry (rings, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, chains, etc.). This was in addition to cash from many countries, including Thailand, Lebanon, Iran, Mexico, and others.
How to Protect Your Own Valuables When Traveling
I cannot stress enough how valuable AirTags are for your bags when traveling! I can always find where my bags are en-route, thanks to these little guys. There have been plenty of stories now as well that show how they have helped locate lost and stolen bags.
But, also, be careful what you pack in your checked luggage! If it was indeed at lost-and-found that this man stole from, looking at the list, you can see a whole lot of things that should never be away from your person during your travels – like hard drives, cell phones, laptops, tablets, etc. I am a bit curious about all the wallets and wristwatches as well on this list!
Make sure you keep your valuables near you. If you do lose something, notify the airline’s lost-and-found department as soon as possible. If it is an electronic, see if you can locate it online. If you cannot, take steps to lock the device or delete valuable information if you can.
I left an Amazon Kindle on a flight a couple of years ago and the airline never found it (I realized after I left the plane, a United Airlines transatlantic flight, that i left it in my seat back and gave them all the info and they couldn’t find it). I immediately deactivated it from my account so the person that ultimately took it would not be able to purchase things with my account.
Lastly, get an AirTag, Tile, or something similar! For Android users, Google is reportedly coming out with an AirTag competitor soon also so you can pick up some of those. In the meantime, I understand the Samsung ones are pretty good.
Featured image from Greek Police
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