PHOENIX - The ABC15 Investigators discovered 10 employees who work at Sky Harbor International Airport have been reprimanded by the City of Phoenix Aviation Department since January for stealing items that had been lost or left by airport customers, employees, or passengers.
The disciplined employees worked for a variety of companies within the airport, including airlines, ground services, retail, and other air services.
Each employee was given a Notice of Violation and had their airport security badge confiscated.
“If you have a security badge taken away from you, you will automatically come up in the system as having had your badge revoked,” said Deborah Ostreicher, Deputy Director of Aviation for Sky Harbor International Airport.
“You can’t just go work for another company(in the airport) and try to get a badge,” she said, explaining that employees do have an opportunity to appeal the Notice of Violation.
PASSENGER USES APP TO FIND STOLEN iPAD
When Vince Vernaza landed at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, he hadn’t planned for his brand new iPad to land in the hands of a thief.
“I was shocked that somebody on a plane would take something,” Vernaza told the ABC15 Investigators.
Vernaza said he left the device in a seat back pocket on a flight to Phoenix from Florida. By the time he remembered that he had left it on the plane, someone else had already snatched it - but he didn't know who.
"The officers at the airport were awesome," he said.
Vince enlisted the Phoenix airport police and used the “Find My iPhone” app installed on his iPad and iPhone to track the expensive computer tablet.
“(The iPad) went from the plane into the secure areas of the airport, and we thought that was weird,” Vernaza said.
At first, he said, he thought the app wasn’t working properly. “There was nothing wrong with it…we found out,” he said, explaining that an airline employee had taken his iPad. The following day, Vernaza and his son Sam tracked it to a home in Mesa, where police helped them get it back.
“I was shocked that someone would take that and jeopardize their job,” Vernaza said.
The employee was arrested and booked for felony theft.
He also received a Notice of Violation from the airport, lost his security badge, and lost his job.
ANOTHER THEFT CASE
Two airline employees who worked in the Lost and Found department for US Airways at Sky Harbor International Airport received Notices of Violation for taking items from the airline’s Lost and Found storage area. One person was accused of taking a handheld videogame. The other employee was accused of taking jewelry, sunglasses, an iPod, and some clothing items among other things.
Police arrested both of them.
An airline spokesperson told ABC15, neither employee works for the airline any longer.
According to airport paperwork, one employee said “she has no defense for the incidents that occurred. She knew it was poor judgment but tried to justify to herself that her actions were not theft as they were unclaimed items and considered charity. She indicated that US Airways provides any items left unclaimed under $100 will be donated to Goodwill or distributed among employees and items over $100 will be sent to a warehouse in Charlotte.”
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
A man convicted and sentenced to 26 years without any physical evidence or eyewitness testimony has one last chance to win his freedom.