The thieves at Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) are having a field day. In a span of six months, Air India has reported over 50 incidents of theft from checked-in baggage, where thieves managed to pilferage registered baggage of passengers.
The number of complaints is much more but many airlines are avoiding informing the police.
Air India recently wrote to Delhi Police expressing their concern over the increasing incidence of theft of costly items from registered baggage.
“Last month, a passenger coming from Chicago complained of theft of jewellery and cash from his checked-in baggage. After that, we informed Delhi Police about this case and other thefts that have taken place in the past six months,” an Air India officer said.
The investigation in these has revealed the involvement of ground handling staff of the airline. Police said the loaders have a unique modus operandi. The theft is carried out from inside a container used to transport the baggage from terminal to aircraft. They don’t even break the lock.
“After passenger checks in his baggage, it is sent to the inline baggage system. After screening, it is the ground handling staff’s job to load it in a container and transport it into the aircraft. The thefts take place when they load it in the container,” said a senior police officer.
The police said that containers of Air are covered by curtains and what is happening inside cannot be covered by CCTV cameras.
“The area is under CCTV surveillance but the thieves are clever enough to avoid camera. They open the bag inside the container and took away costly items from it,” the officer added.
The series of theft cases came to light when in the second week of September Air India finally decided to inform police.