In response to a spate of thefts from checked baggage at Los Angeles International Airport, a joint task force launched a probe into the matter and on Wednesday night detained 14 people, ultimately arresting six in connection with the crimes.
According to the LA Times, the task force was comprised of both LAX and LAPD detectives. Authorities served a total 25 search warrants at multiple locations to those suspected in the plot to pilfer travelers' personal items directly from their luggage.
“Basically everything of value -- be it electronics, jewelry and items -- that could be stolen in seconds would be removed from bags,” Gannon said. “They’d just open up the suitcases and rifle through them and pocket valuables.”
Those arrested did not work directly for LAX, but were rather current or former employees of companies under contract with the airport to handle luggage.
“The actions of these few do not represent the nearly 45,000 individuals who work for the nearly 350 employers at LAX,” Gannon added in a statement.
Authorities reportedly noticed that reports of theft were coming primarily from the airport's Tom Bradley International Terminal and Terminal 4 but do not believe them to be the work of a major organized ring. LAPD Capt. Ray Maltez instead calls the surge in thefts "a culture of being able to take property that wasn't theirs, and that's what we want to be able to put a stop to."
Police will continue to investigate the matter.