Orlando Airport Hotbed For Baggage Thefts, Police Warn: Tips For Luggage Safety

Orlando International Airport has seen 35 cases of baggage theft so far this year, which is an average of seven thefts per month, the Orlando Police Department said.

About 14 cases were reported of something being taken out of a suitcase before the owner claimed it at the carousel, police said, according to Fox 35 Orlando.

However, thefts are not the only problem at the airport, passenger Lori Betame suggested.

“I went on a cruise and I had a connecting flight and they lost my bag,” Betame said.

Buying GPS trackers for your luggage was a good way to protect it in case it gets lost during the travel. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) experts said as long as the GPS was not powered by a lithium batteries, it was safe.

Passenger Elizabeth Tranberg said, “Just like everything, you can track it on your phone and you know where it is.”

“I think it’s a great idea. It makes it a little more secure putting things in my bag knowing they’re going to make it to my destination with me,” Marci Muno, passenger said.

According to Orlando Tourist Information Bureau, Orlando International Airport was ranked 11th in TSA theft firings between 2002 and 2011. The bureau said an opportune time for a passenger’s belongings to be taken was during the inspection by TSA agents when they suspect the person has something illegal in the luggage.

“Some TSA agents have been known to open luggage and replace the locks so the passenger never knew their bags had been tampered with,” the bureau said.

The bureau suggested “purchasing a TSA approved lock that alerts you if someone has been in your bags.”

“Use a TSA recognized lock because if it’s coming down for screening and we need to take a look inside, we do have a master,” TSA spokesperson Mark Howel said.

In 2017, a TSA employee was caught on camera stealing cash from a bag which was going through screening at the Orlando airport. The passenger, from whom the cash was stolen, saw the suspect standing near her bag while she was going through security as she was selected for a pat-down search.

The cash was missing when she went through the bag after.

“The TSA immediately reported the allegation to OPD and we aggressively investigated the incident with our law enforcement partner,” spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said at the time, reported Orlando Sentinel.

The Orlando Tourist Information Bureau also suggested few steps to protect the belongings.

The bureau advised passengers to place electronics and other valuable items in a carryon bag and avoid checking it in. It also recommended the passengers to keep the valuable belongings like wallets and purses in sight at all times to lessen the probability of them being stolen.

Look through the bag once the inspection was over and report the disappearance, if any, to a supervisor immediately, the bureau suggested.