American Airlines Baggage Handler Charged with Pilfering Suitcase

Christopher Shaw had sticky fingers and an eye for high-priced clothing, police said.

The 37-year-old baggage handler for American Airlines was arrested Wednesday after allegedly stealing $500 worth of clothing from the luggage of a female passenger who was arriving at Philadelphia International Airport on a flight from Texas March 17.

Before boarding her flight, the woman bought four items from a Nordstrom's in Dallas, but when she arrived in Philadelphia about 11 p.m., her belongings were missing, police said.

The woman filed a police report, and investigators later determined from surveillance video that Shaw, of Reading, had taken the items, according to Lt. Frank Vanore, a police spokesman.

On March 18, Shaw tried to return the items to the Nordstrom's in King of Prussia for cash, but he came away empty-handed after the store returned the money to his victim's credit card, Vanore said.

Tim Smith, a spokesman for American Airlines, said yesterday that Shaw's alleged theft would not be tolerated.

"We have more than 75,000 honest, hardworking employees, and apparently he is not among them," Smith said. "I can assure you that he will not remain in our employ."

Vanore said that Shaw had been charged with theft by unlawful taking, and receiving stolen property. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court May 7.

"When you're flying, you're nervous about a lot of things, and you shouldn't have to be worried about things like your luggage," Vanore said.

"Hopefully [Shaw] will be an example that if you do something like that, there's a good possibility that you will be detected and have to pay the consequences." *