Watch Your Bags!
There are two types of luggage thieves: the professional and the moron.
The professional works like a ghost. I’ve seen a pro open, search, and close a bag within 40 seconds. These guys are really fast and sometimes work with other people, sticking together to get the most lucrative shifts.
Their tool is a small double-edged knife that is NOT sharp, because, if it were, it would cut through the bag and leave marks. The knife doubles as your luggage keys!
The law-abiding passenger doesn’t have much to fear from the professionals. They steal things no one is going to place a claim on, such as cash on its way to being laundered, drugs, old currency, valuable freight like gold coins or whole shipments of Rolex watches, and the odd opportunity that arises because of multiple gate changes due to weather.
Before they even open a bag, the pro will bang it a few times to release the odor of any money. When a lot of money is together, it reeks.
The moron is the one who will ruin your vacation or business trip. He’ll steal your video camera after a family vacation, your jewelry, digital camera, computer, credit cards — anything that has value. I’ve even seen them steal clothes and shoes! They’ll also go through the US Mail looking for cash, and also steal cargo.
They’ll work in teams as well. In the belly of the aircraft, one guy will steal from your bags while the other two are loading the airplane. It was so prevalent when I worked at MIA in the 1990s and 2000s, that if you ever flew out of M.I.A. during that time, most likely your bags were breached.
TSA has improved the situation, but it still happens. Just ask Kim Kardashian. In May 2012, while on a British Airways flight, thieves stole from her luggage.
Morons usually are feeding some kind of addiction such as gambling or drugs, or they have a financial problem. Their desperation makes them sloppy and careless sometimes, so they eventually get caught.
Why I Call Them Morons
Once a moron was going through luggage like he had a mission, very quickly and seemingly without guilt, and his airport ID fell inside one of the bags he was searching. When the passenger arrived home and opened his bag, he found that items were missing, but also found a Miami International Airport ID. The following day American Airlines fired the bad employee. A week later United Airlines hired him….
If you want to ask me questions on traveling, fire away……….JJ
The complete story of The Luggage Thieves will be in my forthcoming memoir, The Baggage Handler.