Airtag leads to arrest of airline employee accused of stealing more than $15,000 worth of items

An airline employee has been arrested for allegedly stealing $15,000 worth of items from an Apple Airtag luggage. AirTags have become essential travel gadgets, especially during the post-pandemic chaos of the past few years. This handy gadget came in handy again as it helped police locate a traveler’s lost luggage at a Florida airport.

A Florida Airlines employee has been arrested after an Apple Airtag helped authorities locate a traveler’s lost luggage. Giovanni De Luca, 19, an airline contractor at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, has been charged with two counts of robbery, according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office statement released today, Thursday.

According to the release, a traveler reported that her suitcase, which contained $1,600 worth of items, disappeared from her final destination in July. According to the statement, the traveler told authorities that an Apple AirTag in his suitcase was last activated in Mary Esther, Florida. Another traveler reported missing her suitcase, which contained more than $15,000 worth of jewelry.

Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office investigators used the airline database to cross-reference employees who lived near the address where the AirTag was last activated and made “consensual contact” with De Luca at his home, where they found the missing items. De Luca admitted to spreading the rumors and removing the Apple Airtag from the victim’s suitcase in July, but his items were not found, the statement said.

“This arrest is an example of the great teamwork between our airport security unit, our investigators and the airport to find the person responsible for this theft and make sure they are held accountable.”

Due to staff shortages following massive layoffs in the aviation sector during the pandemic, airports in Europe and the US are struggling to handle the influx of passengers and their luggage. Many customers have challenged airlines on Twitter with the exact location of their apparently lost luggage using their AirTags. So using AirTags to keep track of your luggage is a good idea and so far they have proved useful for many.

AirTags have come in handy for travelers this year as airlines are short staffed, flights are changed and luggage is more likely to be lost. According to the US Department of Transportation, in May, 237,828 bags were reported as mishandled, up from 132,071 during the same period last year.

Apple launched AirTags in 2021 to track people’s luggage. The system has since been criticized for being used for harassment. In January, Apple released a “personal security user guide” for AirTags over harassment fears.

Tracking devices, which use short-range Bluetooth technology, are allowed on planes and can help you find your lost luggage. These tiny, coin-like devices keep tabs on things like keys, wallets and backpacks.
Apple’s product, however, has been criticized for making it easier to track and steal cars by placing AirTags on suspected victims and tracking them. Apple says AirTag is designed to discourage unwanted tracking. If someone else’s AirTag ends up in your belongings, your iPhone will notice it’s traveling with you and send you an alert. After a while, if you still can’t find it, AirTag will start playing a sound to let you know, according to Apple’s website.

Source: Sheriff’s Office

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