On Aug. 28, seven baggage workers in New York were taken into custody for allegedly stealing merchandise worth thousands of dollars out of checked luggage on El Al Airlines over a five-month period. Jewelry, electronics, cell phones and more apparently went missing from the checked baggage. The individuals were accused after a camera hidden in the belly of a 747 supposedly recorded their actions as they looked through baggage and took items. The individuals now face charges of grand larceny and theft.
The video covered only flights between Kennedy Airport and Israel. Passengers said they kept valuables in their carry-on, close to their person, to ensure that they wouldn't be a victim of thefts no matter what airline they flew. Reporters spoke to a man who confirmed that a family member had been accused. He added that his relative operates machinery on the tarmac.
An El Al spokesman expressed strong opinions that condemned the alleged actions of the workers. He emphasized that the airline investigated the crimes with the Port Authority police. He further indicated that airline security was never compromised during the investigation. He added that the airline wants to send a strong message to anyone whom they think could be involved in criminal activity in order prevent this type of episode from happening again.
When someone is accused of crimes that occur over several months that involve significant amounts of money and a number of people, they could face serious consequences. A criminal defense attorney might be able to negotiate a plea agreement for clients in order to reduce the charges and the accompanying penalties against them. An attorney may also be able to show that their client was not working during one of the instances of theft, thereby creating reasonable doubt.
Source: CBS New York, "Authorities: Kennedy Airport Workers Busted In Alleged Baggage Theft Ring", August 30, 2013