Like the author, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often too.
Victorian (and Federal) Police have arrested a 51 year old woman who lives in Kings Park, which is a suburb quite close to Melbourne’s main airport in Tullamarine. Over the course of almost a year, this woman would simply regularly go to the airport, walk up to the domestic luggage carousels, and steal at least one passenger’s suitcase.
She would then walk out of the airport, as if she had just landed on a domestic flight, head to her nearby home, open the suitcase to see what was inside, and either keep, or sell the contents.
When I traveled for a living, it would often be impossible to go on trips without checking a bag. I was already carrying a bag full of electronics for my job, and gone for more than a week, so checking a bag was going to happen. I always tried to not have anything of value beyond clothes and other easily-replaceable things in my checked bag, and to also have a bag that was obviously mine. I had a bright orange Oregon State band wrapped around my black suitcase (before we lived in Oregon it was bright green), so I could see it from afar, and see if anyone else picked it up.
I assume most people traveling with a checked bag also don’t put too much of value in it, both because of theft, or it being lost by the airline.
I wonder though, as the TSA continues to limit the kind of stuff you can bring in a carry on, if this type of crime may not become a bit more lucrative? It wouldn’t be terribly difficult to pull off, though it would be on camera and eventually someone is going to be looking at the video for some other reason and see what is happening, as they did in this case.
I wonder if she ever came across anything of much value though, or was just selling off second hand clothes.