In March 2014 Airport police and the LAPD detained 14 people and made 6 arrests during what would be touted as the raid that broke up one of the biggest property thefts to happen at Los Angeles International Airport.
No One Formally Charged with Theft
But nearly a year after the raid, no one has been charged, despite the fact that two dozen baggage handlers were alleged to have been involved in the scheme. Four from the group were detained on suspicion of receiving stolen property. And of those four, two were arrested on outstanding warrants. But detectives were unable to link the detained handlers to any stolen property.
According to Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Pat Gannon, the workers might have been tipped that the police were investigating theft occurring in the airport.
Sloppy Police Work
The union representing Gannon’s rank-and-file officers recently accused the LAPD of sloppy police work in connection with the raid. The Union President, Marshall McClain, recently said that the raids happened despite the fact that Airport Police investigators felt the task force had not obtained enough information regarding stolen property or victims. For example, one of the detained employees was arrested after officers located several electronic devises in his home. But a police report identifying the stolen items had not been filed.
McClain has charged that, “Some would consider [it] … sloppy police work led by officers who were more concerned with making arrests and smiling for the cameras.”
Much of the publicity surrounding the raids gave credit to the Airport Police, rather than the LAPD.
Task Force Work Vetted
Gannon has disputed the union’s claims, alleging that the task force’s work had been vetted by prosecutors and a judge who had also signed off on search warrants. While the task force was unable to identify any specific victims or property, 23 of 24 suspected airport contract workers are no longer working at LAX. “We sent a clear message that thievery wasn’t going to be tolerated,” Gannon said.
Source: Los Angeles Times, Airport Police union criticizes LAPD over luggage-theft probe, January, 23, 2014
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