CONTACT: Sgt. Belinda Nettles
Following the service of 25 search warrants, the LAX Joint Crime Task Force detained 14 people for questioning. A total of six arrests were made, 4 for receiving stolen property and 2 for outstanding warrants.
This is an ongoing investigation and will likely result in additional arrests. Detectives will now work to link those arrested to specific theft cases, which is expected to clear many of the open theft investigations.
LAX JOINT CRIME TASK FORCE ARRESTS SUSPECTS FOR THEFTS AT LAX
(Los Angeles, California – March 26, 2014) The LAX Joint Crime Task Force (LAX-CTF), comprised of Los Angeles Airport Police and Los Angeles Police Department detectives, today served 25 search warrants following an ongoing investigation into property stolen from passengers’ luggage or directly from aircraft at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Numerous items were recovered during the service of search warrants and arrests.
The property thefts were linked to a group of suspects, all of whom are current or former employees of companies contracted by involved airlines to mainly provide baggage-handling services.
“This joint operation, resulting in these arrests, highlights the close cooperation and continuous teamwork of the LAX Crime Task Force and its relationship with other local municipal law-enforcement agencies,” said Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon. “In conjunction with all of our law-enforcement partners here at LAX, we will continue to work tirelessly to keep our airports the safest airports in the United States.”
According to Chief Gannon, the suspects underwent employment and criminal background checks before authorized to work at the airport. However, he said, “It’s a disappointment, but a fact of life, that sometimes a few people will succumb to the temptations at LAX. The actions of these few do not represent the nearly 45,000 individuals who work for the nearly 350 employers here at LAX.”
He also added that the number of reported thefts from checked luggage represents a small fraction of the nearly 54.7 million pieces of luggage that passengers check with their airlines annually at LAX. In 2013, the airport served nearly 66.7 million passengers.
During the service of the search warrants at suspects’ homes throughout Los Angeles County, detectives collectively seized numerous items including jewelry, electronics, clothing, and other personal belongings believed to be the reported stolen property that sparked the investigation. These items are currently being identified in an attempt to return them to their owners and to assist in the prosecution of identified suspects.
The LAX Crime Task Force will continue to actively conduct theft investigations with the goal of arresting all of those involved in criminal activity at LAX.
To report a crime to the LAX Crime Task Force, please call (424) 646-8300 or e-mail [email protected] If you see something, say something – airport security is everyone’s business. The Los Angeles Airport Police Division is the nation's premier aviation law-enforcement agency with over 1,100 specially trained police officers, security officers, and civilian staff protecting Los Angeles International, LA/Ontario International, and Van Nuys airports.