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2 RDU Baggage Handlers Charged in Thefts

Posted December 11, 2007

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— Two Raleigh men who load bags for Northwest Airlines at Raleigh-Durham International Airport have been charged with thefts from passengers' luggage, authorities said.

Derrick Mitchell, 24, of 4417 Woodlawn Drive, was charged with larceny in connection with the theft of a portable navigation system valued at $1,076 from one passenger and purse containing about $13 in coins and $10 in bills from a second traveler. James Waker, 27, of 909 Navajo Drive, was charged with aiding and abetting felony larceny.

Both men work for Swissport USA at RDU.

Airport police receive a few reports of merchandise stolen from luggage each month, and officers are reviewing those to determine whether any more charges are warranted in the case, RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said.

"They will look at past reports of stolen property. They will talk to the airlines, to the Transportation Security Administration and see if there is a pattern – to see if this is something that was going on before it was reported (Monday)," Hamlin said.

RDU officials recommended that airline passengers keep anything of value with them in their carry-on luggage to make sure it isn't misplaced or stolen.

60 Comments

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  • ncguy Dec 13, 2007

    Those guys will be out in less time than in takes you to get through screening!
    Navajo drive huh? I guess I know what that means! typical!

  • Moriahe Dec 12, 2007

    The plural of camera is cameras, not camera's.

  • Travised Dec 12, 2007

    Guys, a lot of the airports already **have** RFID's in the stupid label they slap on your handle. That won't stop people from grabbing the contents. I have examined the tags and they do have the lovely transmitter embedded in it. Not sure if all airports are set up to read them, but they exist here in the states.

  • Travised Dec 12, 2007

    Airlines do NOT insure electronics (camera's, computers..) or items of value (jewelry, rare or antiques). There is a max cap of $500 per passenger if I recall. So those gucci's or Coach will rack up the replacement ceiling fast. Be VERY careful if you are traveling with items that could break in the belly.

    For any items such as video or camera's, computers, GPS... Have that in your carryon, and make sure it's max size hardshell. Or the size you see fit. However by going max size you have extra room. You can stuff a jacket and a few sets of clothing in there as well (meds!)

    I'm stunned they are even going after this case. Electronics (luggage lost or damaged) are NOT covered. So the airline is in the clear. Explaining how it was broken into is a different story.

  • NCJB Dec 12, 2007

    sunburnmenot,

    Remember that next time you hold up the line because you can't get it to fit in the overhead bin.

  • WardofTheState Dec 12, 2007

    Demented, that sounds like an excellent solution.

    My way would be to lay these two guys on the runway and let the plane put a stripe down their backs.

  • Demented Dec 12, 2007

    This should be a zero tolerance issue for airlines and airports. You don't run a business by inviting customers in, taking their money for services, and then have YOUR employees steal their belongings. This is a VERY EASY problem to fix. You know when you have a theft problem. Plant RFID labeled lures inside dummy baggage for each flight. When the alarm goes off, don't just fire, but prosecute the perps, and pretty soon this problem goes away.

  • Hammerhead Dec 12, 2007

    Icelanders are among the most educated and healthy people in the world, and I'll bet they spend a lot more time outside than the average American. Internet geo-smack is pretty lame.

  • mvnull Dec 12, 2007

    I have a really nice winter jacket taken from my luggage at RDU (or somewhere enroute). Of course, nowdays who needs winter jackets?

  • Reader Dec 12, 2007

    Common sense tells you this is likely a rampant problem. Someone took a small satin case from my daughter's suitcase while we were returning from San Francisco. It had only some souvenir Buddah figurines inside, but looked like a jewelry case. Of course, try explaining to a child that her hard-earned money and carefully chosen momentos of her first airplane trip were gone because of an untrustworthy adult. Sometimes the damage is worse than monetary loss. What was valuable to her was probably in a trash can in 20 minutes.

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