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Spanish police arrest 14 airport workers over luggage theft

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Spanish police announced on Friday the arrest of 14 workers at Tenerife South Airport, a popular holiday destination, on suspicion of stealing watches, laptops, and other valuables from checked-in luggage.

Authorities seized items worth nearly two million euros, including luxury watches, smartphones, and jewelry.

The arrests were made following an increase in passenger complaints about thefts from checked bags, prompting an investigation by the police.

The investigation led to the confiscation of 29 luxury watches, 22 high-end smartphones, 120 pieces of jewelry, and various electronic devices.

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Police suspect that many other stolen items were sold online or to local stores.

Another 20 airport employees are under investigation, and 27 jewelry shops on the island of Tenerife are also being scrutinized.

Police believe the thefts occurred as baggage was placed in the aircraft hold, with suspects exploiting the opportunity to force open suitcases and remove valuables out of sight.

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The stolen items were allegedly hidden in pockets sewn into the workers’ clothes or personal lockers.

“They hide the stolen items in pockets they sewed on their clothes or their own personal lockers,” the police statement revealed.

The suspects, accused of membership in a criminal group, robbery by force, and money laundering, allegedly operated in a highly organized manner, with defined roles within the hierarchy of the gang.

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Each member had specific responsibilities, ranging from selecting flights and hiding stolen items to selling them to dealers or online.

Tenerife, the largest and most populous of the Canary Islands, attracts millions of European tourists each year, making it a key destination for holidaymakers

The thefts have raised concerns about airport security, particularly during the handling of baggage.

The arrested workers are now facing charges related to the alleged thefts from passengers’ checked luggage.

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