Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

Luxury watches, cash and mobile phones were among the items reported missing from checked-in luggage.


Employees at Tenerife South Airport have been arrested on suspicion of stealing almost €2 million-worth of items from checked-in luggage.

Fourteen workers are among the accused, police said on Friday.

The stolen items, including around €13,000 in cash, were seized from the group of employees at the major tourist airport in Spain’s Canary Islands, a statement said. 

Another 20 airport employees are under investigation in the same case.

The Tenerife South airport handles about 11 million passengers a year, most of them European tourists seeking the pleasant climate of the islands off the coast of northwest Africa.

What sparked suspicion at Tenerife airport?

The investigation began after an increase in passenger complaints about items missing from their luggage, the police statement said.

The thefts occurred as baggage was being placed in the aircrafts’ hold, police said. Inside the hold, the alleged thieves forced open suitcases, took out valuables and shut them again.

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

How to protect your luggage from loss and theft

Although theft from checked luggage is relatively rare, there are plenty of ways you can protect your belongings and minimise the disruption caused by lost or stolen luggage.

Mishandled baggage rates almost doubled in the wake of the pandemic, as airports struggled with staff shortages and strikes.

One easy way to keep your bag within sight is to opt for carry-on instead of checked luggage. If you’re unable to squeeze your belongings into a cabin bag, aim to pack any valuables like laptops, cameras and mobile phones in your hand luggage.

It also helps to pack a change of clothes or two in your carry-on in case your larger bag goes missing.

Opting for luggage that stands out – such as a brightly coloured case – can minimise the chances of someone accidentally taking your bag from the collection belt. If you have a standard black suitcase, make it recognisable by adding a coloured luggage strap or ribbon to it. Locks can also help to deter theft.

Luggage trackers such as Apple AirTags can help you keep tabs on your bag in case it goes missing, but won’t necessarily help with individual items. 

Be sure to take a photo of the items in your suitcase before setting off in case you need evidence for an insurance claim.

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