In the past week, two workers at Orlando International Airport were arrested for allegedly stealing luggage. One of them fell for an elaborate ruse set up by police.
With 35 million passengers a year, a lot of bags travel through OIA. Now it has come to light that two alleged thieves were hiding in plain sight. One of them was allegedly a Skycap named Ivory Sneed.
After getting reports from three different airlines about a rise in missing bags, Orlando Sergeant Dean Deschryver and his undercover officers left a laptop bag against a wall near the JetBlue carousel and stood back to watch.
It didn't take long for Sneed to pick up the decoy, and surveillance cameras were rolling as he pushed his cart, with the decoy, away from the carousel and onto an elevator. Undercover cops ran to keep it in sight, following it to Sneed's personal space in the Skycap office at JetBlue's curbside check-in.
"We eventually made contact with him, asked him what he was doing, and he confessed his intent to steal the bag," said Sgt. Dean DeSchryver, Orlando Police Department.
Police said another airport worker, William Esparra, took an actual passenger's $2,000 laptop from one of the terminals. It turned up days later at an Orlando pawn shop where Esparra's girlfriend had allegedly cashed it in for $300.
Investigators said they didn't know if either airport worker had committed any other thefts. But with more and more passengers and more and more bags coming through OIA, they want all potential thieves to be on notice.
"You're not gonna know who we are cause we're not gonna be in uniform, but we are watching you," DeSchryver said.
Sneed worked for Superior Aircraft, a baggage handling contractor. Esparra worked for BG Cleaning, a janitorial contractor. The airport pulled both men's credentials and both have been charged with grand theft.
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