Baggage Handler Rifles Through Luggage and Steals Items of Value
27-year-old airport employee Abdullah Hayee Mayeh was arrested on October 12th after airline video footage circulated showing the man opening travelers’ bags in the luggage compartment of a Jetstar flight and stealing the items inside. After the video gained traction online, Jetstar became aware of the incident and initiated a full investigation.
In the two-minute video, Mayeh is shown opening a large black suitcase and digging through the contents with both hands. He then decides the contents aren’t worth stealing and quickly moves on to another. Mayeh digs through the contents of a second large, black bag after checking its outside compartments and side pockets. He again finds nothing of value.
Throughout the clip, the airline worker glances in the direction of a co-worker with a camera. The co-worker eventually says something to him in Thai and they converse briefly. Then, Mayeh takes the suitcase and sets it down on the ground in full sight of his colleague and rifles through it in full view while the co-worker sings a song before the video cuts out.
The video was apparently captured by an investigator as part of a special sting operation set up by Airports of Thailand and Tourism Police after theft was suspected.
“Jetstar is aware of a video circulating online and we are taking the matter very seriously,” the airline stated. “We have launched an immediate investigation and will work with Airports of Thailand, our ground handler BAGS and our local security company to ensure the security of our customers’ property onboard our flights.”
“Jetstar Australia’s aircraft are not loaded like this. We use containers which means this type of activity in the cargo hold cannot occur,’ Robin Goh of Jetstar Group commented.
Mayeh was employed by BAGS, a third-party provider of baggage services to nearly 90 airlines in Thailand, and was immediately terminated from his position after his employer discovered what he was doing. He was then arrested at Phuket International Airport in Thailand.
After being taken into custody and shown the video footage, Mayeh had no choice but to offer a full confession, and he handed over a stolen Bluetooth device. Authorities are currently trying to match the stolen item with the passenger from whom it was taken. Abdullah has been charged with robbery and taken to Saku Police Station.
This isn’t the first time a baggage handler was caught trying to make off with passengers’ loot. An Austin-Bergstrom International Airport employee was arrested earlier this year after authorities discovered the man was routinely stealing handguns to trade for marijuana along with two accomplices.
25-year-old handler Ja’Quan Johnson of Austin, Texas, surrendered to FBI agents investigating the federal criminal complaint and was charged with theft from an interstate shipment and possession of stolen firearms. Johnson apparently hijacked weapons from the bags of passengers over the course of several months, from November 29, 2016, to February 2, 2017. Austin police were able to recover seven stolen firearms and seized an unspecified amount of illegal drugs in warranted searches.
Guess it’s best for frequent travelers carrying valuable items to invest in luggage locks.