Getting the stolen items back to their rightful owner may be difficult because the suspects stripped off all identifying tags. The suspects may have also sold some of the items at garage sales and swap meets. Police said people who believe they may be victims should call 602-495-7808.
This event was noteworthy only because of the scale of the thefts. The risks that passengers face from baggage theft are not unique to Phoenix. Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport is like many airports in the US and around the world in that once your bags arrive at the baggage carousel, there are no airline or airport employees who check to see if baggage is going to the rightful owner.
Reducing Your Risks
While every passenger is at risk of having a checked bag lost or stolen, There are a number of things that every passenger should do to keep their checked bags from being stolen or to minimize the impact of a lost bag. AirSafe.com's Top Ten Baggage Tips page has a number of suggestions, including:
- Travel with only carry-on luggage
- Put your contact information inside and outside every checked bag
- Immediately report the loss of checked luggage
- Don't pack valuable items in checked luggage
Police reported that when they were searching the home of the arrested couple, one of those arrested was attempting to destroy a number of items, including passports, credit cards, and identification cards.
If you plan on avoiding checked baggage problems by taking carry-ons, AirSafe.com has additional advice about carry-on baggage, such as checking with the airline ahead of time to find out what their policy and limitations are for bags in the cabin. Even with carry-ons, you should make plans to check that bag. On some smaller aircraft and on very crowded flights, there may not be room for your bag and you may have to check the bag at the last minute. You should prepare for this by keeping valuable items in a smaller bag or container that you can take out of the carry-on and keep with you on the plane.
Compensation for Lost Bags
Should any of your luggage be lost, delayed, stolen, or damaged, you will very likely be eligible for some kind of compensation from the airline or even the airport, but you must act immediately after you find that your bags are missing. AirSafe.com also provides advice for how to go about the compensation process.
Hazardous Materials and Prohibited Items