Their hands were seized… in their bags: 14 employees were arrested at an airport on the Spanish island of Tenerife, on suspicion of stealing loot estimated at two million euros (more than 2.9 million dollars) from passengers’ luggage, Civil newspaper reported. The Guard announced on Friday.
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She said in a press statement that the stolen items included 29 luxury watches, 22 advanced smartphones, and 120 pieces of jewelry stolen from travelers of many nationalities at the airport located south of this Canary Island.
The Civil Guard suspects that the 14 arrested employees have already resold other stolen goods to stores. Twenty other airport employees and 27 jewelry stores on the island are also within sight of investigators.
The operation began after a series of complaints from travelers.
The thefts occurred while luggage was being placed in aircraft holds. According to investigators, the suspects were forcing the bags to steal valuables while they were out of sight of other passengers and employees.
The Civil Guard said they then hid the stolen items in pockets sewn inside their clothes or in their lockers at the airport.
Tenerife South Airport welcomed 10.8 million passengers in 2022, making it the seventh airport in Spain, according to airport director Ena. Tenerife, the largest and most populous island in the Canary Islands, is popular with tourists from northern Europe.