Growing number of thieves targeting luggage at airports

FILE PHOTO (AP Photo)

With a busy travel weekend looming authorities are warning travelers about a growing number of thieves targeting luggage.

Officials with the Port of Seattle Police tell ABC News that at least nine different people have been caught on surveillance video at Seattle-Tacoma Airport swiping luggage.

The luggage bandits dress like they are travelers and even carry bags of their own to blend in. In one video a man simply lifts the luggage off the baggage conveyor and walks away. In another video a couple can be seen stealing luggage off the carousel and vanishing in a matter of seconds. Authorities tell ABC News they believe they are part of a theft ring targeting luggage.

"They are here all hours of the day and sometimes when we get an individual that has done this multiple times, they will get a certain pattern that we will address," said Darin Beam, a detective with the Port of Seattle Police.

Police say the thieves have adapted more sophisticated maneuvers in response to police tactics, but tell ABC News that luggage theft is all about striking at the perfect time, and that there are things passengers can do to protect themselves while they are traveling.

Officials say one way to prevent theft is to get to the carousel before your bag arrives, so you can get to it before thieves do. Officials also advise do not use a black bag and put bright markers on your luggage so it easily stands out. For further precaution officials say you can invest in a GPS tracker that goes inside your luggage.

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