An Apple AirTag Foils Yet Another Baggage Heist

One of the stolen bags reportedly contained $15,000 worth of jewelry, which is a totally normal amount of jewelry to have in your checked bag.

Aluminum suitcase on a baggage carousel
Dimitri Karastelev/Unsplash

Another baggage thief bites the dust thanks to Apple. Or, more specifically, to the Apple AirTag.

On Saturday, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in Florida announced  that it had arrested 19-year-old Giovanni De Luca — an airline subcontractor at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport — for allegedly stealing suitcases, one of which is said to have contained more than $15,000 worth of jewelry. And he may have gotten away with it, had one of the suitcase owners, who reported the bag missing in July, not had also stashed an AirTag inside (that bag reportedly held a normal $1,600 worth of items).

The AirTag eventually lead authorities to the area of Kathy Court in Mary Esther, Florida, according to The Washington Post, and eventually to De Luca. Despite his best efforts to be rid of the AirTag (Apple actually allows anyone who finds one to disable it and stop it from sharing its location with its owner), the items that were reported missing were ultimately recovered.

For the uninitiated, Apple AirTags are Bluetooth tracking devices that can find far away items thanks to the help of the hundreds of millions of Apple devices in the Find My network. Although the devices are controversial — there have been several instances of stalking using AirTags reported since they were first launched in April 2021 — it’s not the first time they’ve been used to foil a stolen luggage scheme. (Read: if you don’t have an Apple AirTag to go in your suitcase, you need an Apple AirTag to go in your suitcase.)

That said, I’d be remiss not to ask this one question: Who the fuck checks a bag with $15,000 worth of jewelry in it? In this economy? According to data from the Air Travel Consumer Reports published by the Department of Transportation, more than 684,000 bags were mishandled in the first quarter of 2022 alone…and I’d venture to guess that the majority of those bags contained primarily clothes, and toiletries, and not $15,000 worth of jewelry.

Now, I know it’s not the point, and I am in no way condoning theft — De Luca’s actions were reprehensible, to be sure. But why tempt fate? Even if there wasn’t a teenaged pilferer awaiting you at your destination, who’s to say it might not have just gotten lost? Or damaged in transit? Maybe it’s because I don’t own $15,000 worth of jewelry to speak of but that certainly feels like a…choice.

All of this to say: get an Apple AirTag. And pack your $15,000 of jewelry in your carry-on ffs.


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