Air France Informative - News articles about stolen luggage
The 8th of February 2011
Airport police arrested 17 luggage handlers working for Charles de Gaule Airport. The loot was worth 300 000 euros.
And on the 2nd March 2011, at the Orly Airport, Paris second airport, 10 luggage handlers have been arrested. Police suspects they have stolen goods for an amount of 800 000 euros.
October 01, 2010
SIXTEEN baggage handlers from Charles de Gaulle Airport are facing jail after being convicted of a €450,000 series of thefts.
Employed by Air France company Trac-Piste, they stole dozens of laptops, iPhones and iPods, video cameras, jewellery, perfume, satnavs, cash and travellers cheques.
The men’s haul also included more than one hundred pairs of designer shoes.
In all, more than 500 passengers were robbed between 2007 and 2008.
The baggage handlers, aged between 24 and 48, admitted the thefts. They targeted flights they felt were the “richest”; towards Switzerland or northern Italy.
Prosecutors have asked for jail sentences of between six months and a year and fines of between €1,000 and €3,000.
However, lawyers for Air France have demanded heavier fines of €117,500, plus €300,000 for the damage to its image and €200,000 for lost business.
Sentence will be delivered on November 3.
Monday 01 October 2007
Nineteen baggage handlers working at Charles-de-Gaulle Paris airport have been found guilty of the theft of baggage.
A similar case occurred in December 2006 when 20 baggage handlers at the airport were found guilty of theft.
Together, the two cases mean that over the past two years around 40 baggage handlers have been caught with their fingers in passengers' luggage.
Authorities have been forced to acknowledge that these were not isolated incidents, but an organised theft.
Neither does the problem appear to be restricted to Paris, for last year twelve baggage handlers at Nice airport were arrested on suspicion of the theft of baggage items, following over 400 complaints from passengers in a single year. It is estimated that losses amounted to around €500,000.
The most recent incident at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle covered a period during 2001 to 2003, when airport police intercepted 27 baggage handlers after viewing footage from CCTV screens in the airport terminal.
The handlers did not deny culpability, although as part of their defence they argued that it was custom and practice for it to happen!
Two of the handlers were sent to prison for around a year, whilst others were given suspended sentences. In addition, each was found up to €15,000 in damages, payable to Air France and their employer, Bag Ground Services (BGS).
Somewhat to the surprise of prosecutors, none of the felons was banned by the court from exercising this activity in the future. Nevertheless, it is unlikely many will find an employer who will readily hire them.
Air France reported to the court having paid out around €700,000 in compensation to passengers and had sought €1,250,000 in total damages from the baggage handling company. The airport finally reached an out of court settlement with the company concerning compensation for the thefts.
04 May 2003
French police have broken up a gang of crooked baggage handlers who used X-ray machines to select items worth looting from travellers at the country's busiest airport.
In a series of dawn raids, officers seized stolen digital cameras, laptop computers, expensive clothes, watches, jewels and perfumes from the homes of staff working at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris. Thirty-two people were arrested.
The gang is thought to have been responsible for more than 1,200 thefts from the airport, which is used by about 12 million passengers every year. They worked in an underground department in Terminal 2F where luggage is sorted according to flight numbers after passengers have checked in.
Detectives say that the thieves usually worked in pairs - with one acting as a look-out to warn of the arrival of a supervisor or security officer. They often targeted flights to Asia, particularly Japan, as many Japanese tourists and businessmen are known to travel with expensive electronic equipment and to purchase large quantities of luxury goods.
Unlocked suitcases were opened, searched and items of value taken. Locked ones sometimes simply vanished or were electronically scanned for valuables and had their locks broken off.
One of the investigating officers said: "Sometimes they chose a suitcase at random and went through it searching for jewellery or cash, but several times they used the X-ray machines to find objects which interested them, such as cameras or CD players.
"In a flash, a piece of luggage would disappear from the conveyor belt, be opened, plundered and put back on the belt. When they were forced to break into the cases, pieces of locks were left around the belt."
After discovering broken padlocks, the police put baggage handlers under surveillance to uncover the thieves.
The raids were carried out by 90 officers from three police forces in and around Paris after an investigation lasting more than a year.
The inquiry was launched after airlines operating out of Charles de Gaulle complained about the "unusually high" level of baggage losses from the terminal, which handles flights to Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, SAudi Arabia and South America.
At the homes of 16 of the suspects the police discovered a variety of electronic goods. "It was like a collection from Ali Baba's cave," said one officer.
The police would not put an estimate on the value of the stolen goods seized, but some of the watches recovered were said to be worth between €2,000 and €3,000(£1,300 and £2,000) each.
The items recovered are only a fraction of the goods stolen, with most being resold by the thieves. Police are trying to establish whether the gang was part of a wider crime ring.
Georges Kaemmerlen, the head of air transport police, said: "It was a whole culture. The thieves had good days and bad days. For them it was a job - a way of getting goods for themselves on the cheap or to sell them on the black market."
Capt Frederique Nourdin, the commander of air transport police at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport, said: "A considerable quantity of property has been recovered, including perfume, cameras, expensive watches, jewellery, computers and cash, but we haven't yet calculated the total value of the haul. We set up an undercover operation at the terminal and for over a year we collected enough evidence to prove who was involved in certain thefts."
Several suspects appeared in court on Thursday while others are still under investigation.
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