Airline Subcontractor Arrested, Accused of Stealing Luggage at VPS

The Sheriff’s Office Airports Unit has arrested a 19-year-old airline subcontractor for grand theft after alleging he stole more than $16,000 worth of property while on the job at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport. 

 

Sheriff’s deputies slapped bracelets on Giovanni De Luca after investigating two separate thefts. 

 

In July, De Luca allegedly stole a woman’s bags with an Apple Airtag equipped to it. The device showed a last known location near Kathy Court in Mary Esther. 

 

On August 9th, another traveler reported more than $15,000 in jewelry and other items stolen from their luggage. 

 

Deputies cross-referenced the list of employees and the stolen Apple Airtag’s location on Kathy Court and turned up De Luca’s name. Those law enforcement officers then went to De Luca’s home in Mary Esther and recovered the items stolen on August 9th. 

 

De Luca also told Sheriff’s Deputies he removed the Apple Airtag from a passenger’s luggage. The belongings which were with the Airtag have not yet been recovered. 

 

“This arrest is an example of excellent teamwork by our Airport Security Unit, our investigators, and the Airport to find the person responsible for these thefts and make sure he is held responsible,” said Sheriff Eric Aden. 

De Luca Arrested by Sheriff's Deputies
Giovanni De Luca arrested at his home in Mary Esther by Okaloosa County Sheriff's Deputies.
Okaloosa Sheriff Eric Aden
Okaloosa County Sheriff, Eric Aden

FAA Tips for Securing Your Luggage

 

The FAA lists the following tips for making sure that your stuff stays your stuff. 

  • Don’t put valuable stuff in checked bags and definitely don’t rely on suitcase locks, as they are easily beaten. 
  • Keep meds, keys, passports, tour vouchers and other important stuff on your person, even if you aren’t going to use it on the plane. 
  • Working on a novel? Don’t keep it in your checked bag. Same goes for your great great granny’s necklace she mysteriously inherited after the Titanic sunk. 

They also add that, even if a bag is not lost or stolen – it could be delayed by a couple of days. Keep what you need for the first 24 hours wherever you are going on your person. Don’t overpack checked bags, because something (air pressure, getting jostled around) could have them spontaneously open. Make sure you get a claim check for every back you check. 

 

If your bag comes back to you opened, unlocked or obviously damaged, check immediately to see if any contents are missing or damaged. Report any issues you have immediately to your airline. If your bag doens’t show up; rant, rave, complain or be a general nuisance until the airline fills out a form and gives you a copy that says they are looking into the problem. The airline might want to take your claim check – make sure they make you a copy of that claim check. Don’t let it disappear into the airline’s black hole. Also, make sure they are going to deliver that bag to you free of charge. 

 

Finally, open your suitcase whenever you get home or to your hotel (or your great great granny’s with the suspicious necklace). Report any damage to contents, or pilferage as soon as possible. 

 

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