Tis the season to hit the road for Thanksgiving — and to keep a close eye on your luggage.
At the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, officers are doing random security checks and making travelers prove the bags they carry belong to them because of a recent spike in stolen bags in the last couple of months.
According to ABC15.com, authorities said they’d received eight reports of stolen property in October and sources said surveillance showed people walking off with luggage from airline carousels.
In 2012, prosecutors said a TSA officer was caught on an airport surveillance tape in Memphis stealing from a passenger.
At an empty ticket counter, the officer stashed a laptop left behind at a checkpoint. The officer then draped a jacket over the laptop and walked away. The officer was caught, convicted and fired.
The Transportation Security Administration said that in the last decade, more than 400 workers had been fired for stealing from travelers.
Travel expert Tama Taylor Holve of Willett Travel offered the following advice:
1. Even if you are forced to check your bags at the last minute, pack computers, jewelry and other valuables in a smaller bag and always keep it with you.
2. Skip the fancy designer bag. They’re a magnet for thieves who are hoping there could be something expensive inside. Also consider TSA locks.
“The TSA then has to get into them [luggage] but then they’re kinda accountable because they are the ones that got in there,” Holve said. “It keeps the baggage handler who may be in the depths [of an airplane] from getting in there.”
3. Make your bag different. Thieves can easily walk away with a uniform black roller.
4. If your bag disappears, file a claim quickly. Some airlines just passengers just four hours to report missing bags.
5. During the holidays, make life easier on yourself and ship holiday gifts ahead of time.