(LOS ANGELES) — Over a dozen people have been detained as authorities busted a major theft operation at Los Angeles International Airport.
Fourteen people were taken into custody for questioning on Wednesday, after the LAX Joint Crime Task Force executed 25 search warrants as part of an ongoing investigation into items being stolen at the airport.
Officials said four of those detained have been charged with receiving stolen property, while two others were placed under arrest after they were found to have outstanding warrants. The suspects’ identities were not immediately revealed.
“The property thefts were linked to a group of suspects, all of whom are current or former employees of companies contracted by involved airlines to mainly provide baggage-handling services,” Los Angeles Airport Police and the LAPD said in a joint statement.
Officials said the investigation is ongoing and there will likely be more arrests.
According to investigators, the thieves took property from passengers’ luggage and also directly from aircraft at LAX — one of the nation’s busiest airports.
“It’s a disappointment, but a fact of life, that sometimes a few people will succumb to the temptations at LAX,” Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon said.
In executing the search warrants at the suspects’ homes, the task force seized a number of items believed to have been stolen. Those items seized include jewelry, electronics, clothing, and other personal belongings. Authorities are in the process of identifying the items, and are working to have them returned to their owners.
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Joe Sterling and Darran Simon, CNN
Stephanie Elam, CNN
Terry Sater, WISN