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Airport Workers Stole $2.2M Worth Of Items From Checked Bags

A plane lands on a sunny strip in a desert-mountain region in Spain.

SundAir (Fly Air41 Airways) Airbus 319 taking off from Tenerife Sur-Reina Sofía.
Photo: Fabrizio Gandolfo/SOPA Images/LightRocket (Getty Images)

Police arrested 14 workers at the Tenerife Airport out of the Canary Islands in Spain on Friday for allegedly stealing millions in fancy jewelry, smartphones and plain, cold-hard cash from passengers’ checked luggage. Yet another 20 workers face a police investigation into their actions.

Tenerife handles 11 million travelers every year, mostly well-heeled Europeans heading to sunny islands off the north coast of Africa for vacations (or holiday, as they say). Those airport employees made off with quite the haul, according to ABC:

Authorities seized 29 luxury wristwatches, 120 items of jewelry, 22 high-end cellphones and assorted electronic devices. The suspects had sold many other items online or in local stores, police believe.

Police only caught wind of the caper when travelers began complaining of items missing in their luggage.

This sort of crime by airport employees isn’t exactly uncommon either. Police arrested a man who worked at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport just last year for stealing more than $15,000 of luggage. And it doesn’t stop at theft. Four flight attendants were arrested earlier this year for smuggling drugs into Vietnam in tubes of toothpaste.


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