Sunday, October 5, 2008

Four Dulles Airport Baggage Handlers Arrested for Pilfering Luggage

Their job is to make sure luggage gets on and off the plane, but investigators say four former baggage handlers at Washington Dulles International Airport have been arrested and charged with stealing items from passengers' bags.

Investigators say 32-year-old Orlando Michael Allen, 38-year-old Otmaro Alberto Aguirre, 40-year-old Manuel Ulises Carballo, and 42-year-old Donald Mitchell Johnson packed their pockets with passengers' personal items, from jewelry to electronics to cash and credit cards.

According to airport authorities, the men got away with an estimated $40,000 to $50,000 in stolen goods from checked luggage.

Airport authorities say the six-week investigation led to the arrest of the four men.

"These are baggage handlers that work for a company that services United Express flights at Dulles," said Rob Yingling of the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority.

The suspects were contracted by United Express through Air Wisconsin. The company is a ground handler for United Airlines at Dulles and 20 other cities throughout the country as well as eight cities for Northwest Airlines.

All four Air Wisconsin workers face several charges including larceny and credit card theft. The company says the baggage workers have been fired and they are working to make sure all their passengers belongings are safe and secure in the future.

Airport authorities are advising other passengers too keep anything of value in their carry-on bag instead of checking it in their luggage.

Investigators say the stolen property has been recovered, and anyone who lost items or find that they are missing any thing after having flown on United Express at Dulles needs to file a claim with the airline as soon as possible.

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