Following an investigation which began in January, the Guardia Civil have identified four aircraft cleaners based at Alicante-Elche airport, who are believed to have been responsible for the loss and theft of lost and forgotten items left on board aircraft for years, although no criminal charges have as of yet been filed.
The Guardia Civil investigation began following an increase in the number of reports to airlines over dozens of passengers who had reported having left items such as handbags, computer devices, phones, tablets and other valuables, which failed to appear in the lost property section at the airport.
In many of the cases, the loss was reported soon after landing which led the investigators to find a group of four people, three women and one man, who were all involved in cleaning most of the aircraft where the items had gone missing.
According to the investigators, one of the group was the ring leader, advising the gang of how to exchange the money that had been found, and how to sell on the items through second-hand shops, rather than delivering the items to the airlines for return to the rightful owners.
There is evidence that the practice has been going on for the last five years, although the investigators believe that the group could have been acting for a lot longer.
The case has been referred to the courts in Elche for the possible continual offence of misappropriation, although further criminal charges are expected to prove difficult on account of a lack of individual complainants who have not reported their loss to the official authorities, many of whom were content to have their documents returned, but the majority only having filed the complaint with the airline and not with the Guardia Civil.
Original article can be found here: http://www.theleader.info