On January 18, a family of six boarded a flight to Dubai from the Indira Gandhi International Airport and landed at their destination — minus cash and a camera that had mysteriously gone missing from their checked-in luggage.
The same day, a Chinese national called up his colleague in Delhi and told him his laptop was gone from his registered baggage. He, too, had taken a flight from IGIA.
At the Capital’s swanky airport, checking in your bags doesn’t mean not having to worry about them. The last two years saw 100 passengers register complaints of theft of expensive goods from their sealed bags.
Just three weeks into 2013, the number of complaints already stands at five.
According to the police, the thefts are the work of loaders, working as a gang and trained in opening locks. "We arrested 29 people in 2011 and 36 last year for theft. Most of them were loaders," a senior police officer said.
"In most of the complaints, the bags weren't broken open but the thieves still managed to get in. The biggest problem is that passengers notice they've been robbed only after they're out of the country and don't know who to complain to. They generally inform the airline, which doesn't inform the police," the officer added.
Cameras, laptops and mobile phones are the most coveted items. "These are easy to steal and smuggle out of the airport. They also look for cash. Most thefts are committed in the aircraft belly where the luggage is kept as there are no prying CCTVs," the officer said.