Think twice before you check your luggage at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
Cash, jewelry, electronics and other valuables are being stolen from passengers’ baggage at a staggering rate.
It’s happening as a result of inside jobs that aren’t being stopped, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reports exclusively.
All Rita Lamberg has left is an empty jewelry drawer and pictures of the $160,000 worth of watches, rings and necklaces that were stolen from her baggage at JFK Airport.
“I am so sick. This is a lifetime, a lifetime of my savings,” Lamberg said.
But Lamberg isn’t alone. Law enforcement sources told Kramer that thefts at the airport have increased at a staggering and alarming rate. There are now more that 200 a day — and that’s every day. Baggage handlers, jetway workers and even security people are all in on the ongoing scam to steal you blind.
“The belly of the airplane has become like a flea market for airport employees. They go in there and go through all the luggage unencumbered, unchecked,” JFK security lawyer Kenneth Mollins said.
Mollins is representing Lamberg as she tries to get reimbursed by the airline. Former NYPD detective Frank Shea was hired by other clients who were also ripped off at the airport. They both said the theft problem at JFK is a nightmare that is going unchecked.
“What we’re seeing out there is that really anything that isn’t nailed down is being stolen and for that matter I would caution, some day, if there weren’t tires missing from an aircraft,” Shea said.
Sources told Kramer that one of the things that makes the thieves so successful is that they engage in luggage profiling. They go after the most expensive luggage, but they also check out where you come from. So if you live in Scarsdale or Muttontown or North Woodmere you’re more likely to have your bags opened and possibly things stolen.
“It’s really occurring on the tarmac or as it’s being loaded onto the aircraft,” Shea said.