LifestyleInside heist at Tenerife Sur airport: 14 employees arrested in €2M theft and money laundering scheme

Inside heist at Tenerife Sur airport: 14 employees arrested in €2M theft and money laundering scheme

The total value of the confiscated items is nearly 9 million PLN.
The total value of the confiscated items is nearly 9 million PLN.
Images source: © Guardia Civil

7:03 AM EST, December 20, 2023

According to the local newspaper El Mundo, the Spanish Civil Guard initiated the investigation due to a growing number of traveler complaints. These complaints involved thefts from passengers' belongings following baggage check-in at Tenerife Sur-Reina Sofia Airport. So far, 14 employees implicated in the mass thefts have been apprehended.

The gang operated in a structured, hierarchical manner

The accused individuals allegedly infiltrated the luggage hold, hiding amongst suitcases so as not to be noticed. They would then break into selected pieces of luggage in pursuit of valuable items, resealing them afterward to avoid arousing suspicion of third-party interference.

Items frequently reported missing include jewelry, cell phones, watches, laptops, and cash. The accused employees stashed these valuables in specially tailored pockets inside their work uniforms.

The criminal group is reported to have operated in a methodical, hierarchical manner. Some members of the gang were tasked with identifying suitable flights to target, others ensured operations remained discreet, while yet others were responsible for selling and converting the stolen goods into cash.

The total value of stolen items nears 2 million euros

In several searches conducted, Civil Guard officers discovered a range of valuable items in the employees' lockers, vehicles, and homes. They confiscated a total of 29 luxury watches, 120 pieces of jewelry, 22 smartphones, various other electronic devices, and 13,000 euros in cash.

The total worth of the stolen items is a staggering 1,953,571 euros (approximately $2 million). Some of these items have already been sold by members of the gang at pawnshops and jeweler's stores around Tenerife. 14 employees have been charged, and investigations are ongoing for 20 other individuals.

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