A Spirit Airlines passenger managed to track down her stolen luggage after it vanished when she arrived at a Florida airport — using one of the stolen items to aide in her desperate search.

Paola Garcia had been waiting for her small pink hardshell luggage, containing several Apple products like her personal MacBook and two Apple watches at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport’s Carousel after returning home to the Sunshine State, Local 10 reported.

The exact timing of the incident remains unclear, but Garcia’s desperation to find her stolen property led her to the apparent culprit’s house even before local cops.

Paola Garcia said the luggage she was forced to check by Spirit Airlines never appeared on the baggage carousel after arriving in Florida. local10

Garcia told the outlet she always carried on her luggage without issue, but this time, Spirit Airlines employees made her check the bag before she departed from New York.

But she panicked as she watched others grab their bags from the carousel, and her luggage didn’t appear.

“In my mind, I’m thinking I need my computer because I go to the university, I need my computer no matter what,” Garcia told the outlet.

Garcia said she waited for “at least two hours” before giving up hope that her luggage would never arrive on the conveyor belt.

Spirit Airlines employees told Garcia not to worry and that her luggage would be sent to her house, she told the outlet.

Her watch was pinging at the home of Junior Bazile, an airport employee who had been working when Garcia arrived in Fort Lauderdale. Broward Sheriff’s Office

The next day, she began receiving a ping from one of her Apple Watches, except it wasn’t coming from the airport but rather it was fifteen minutes away at a random Fort Lauderdale home.

It was the home of Junior Bazile, who worked in the retail store Paradies Shops at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Local 10.

Determined to get her belongings back, she went to the home, found her suitcase and her things, and immediately called 911.

When police arrived, Garcia said the “first thing” they did was question why she was at the home.

Garcia then went to Bazile’s home and found her luggage, but her valuables were gone. local10

“The police told me was like, ‘What are you doing here? This is so dangerous for you to be here,’” Garcia explained.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office found that Bazile, 29, was an airport employee and was working the day Garcia’s things went missing.

Unfortunately, by the time police arrived at his home, the alleged airport thief had already gotten rid of her belongings.

An investigation was launched, and police found pictures of Bazile rummaging through Garcia’s suitcase in the back of the store where he worked at the airport.

Law enforcement obtained pictures of Bazile rummaging through Garcia’s suitcase in the back of the store where he worked at the airport. Broward County

Bazile was then arrested and charged with grand theft — a felony offense in Florida if the valuables taken are worth over $750.

If found guilty of grand theft, the accused could face five to 30 years in prison and fines ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the case.

But Garica worries Bazile may be part of a bigger operation of thieves, according to the outlet.

“Personally, I don’t think it’s one person working in the airport, I think it’s a group,” she said. “One person can’t just do that, take bags.”

Bazile was then arrested and charged with grand theft — a felony offense in Florida. Broward County

Law enforcement did not reveal how Bazile was able to steal the luggage.

After it was confirmed that Garica’s luggage was stolen, Spirit Airlines released a statement saying they reimbursed her as a “courtesy.”

“We issued a reimbursement check to the guest as a courtesy, even though we are not currently aware of any evidence that any Spirit employee was involved,” the airline told the outlet. “We take any allegation of this nature seriously, and we are investigating.”

This is not the first time a Florida airport employee has been caught red-handed stealing from travelers.

In June 2023, surveillance footage captured two TSA officers allegedly stealing at least $600 in cash and other items from unsuspecting passengers’ luggage at Miami International Airport.

Video from the checkpoint shows the two accused thieves at the baggage dropoff section working together to take money from wallets and purses that passed them on their way to the X-ray machine.

The thefts occurred while the passengers were distracted by the screening process and not paying attention to their items.

Article source: https://airlines.einnews.com/article/717394130/s10-XAEslROTjh5N?ref=rss&ecode=vaZAu9rk30b8KC5H

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