This really is the ideal time to steal luggage. No, no. I am most certainly not advocating that you steal luggage from anyone at anytime. But in an era of universal masks, I can’t think of a better time to make off with someone else’s suitcase at the airport near you. That is, unless you’re the repeat-offending Southwest Airlines luggage thief in Denver.
The Southwest Airlines Luggage Thief Strikes Again
There’s what I’d call a “typical” local-news story floating around about a woman allegedly denied compensation on Southwest Airlines after her bag was stolen. It has all the elements of a perfect story for local news: it pulls at your heartstrings, is light on facts, and is probably unnecessary in the first place. That’s why my lead-in was not this story, but the wider issue.
After flying Southwest, Cristal Outman found her bag never turned up at baggage claim in Denver. Southwest told her the bag had been unloaded, but helped her file a claim and told her to buy essentials and save the receipts.
The luggage never turned up. Eventually, she reviewed security camera footage of the incident and found a man had walked off with her bag and her husband’s bag.
Denver police actually caught the thief. His name was Bruce Feaster and he was a repeat-offender. Yes, apparently Feaster makes a habit (4x in the past) of helping himself to bags at Denver International. Feaster, you’re not Marilyn Hartman. It was too late for Outman’s bag, though.
After submitting a $1,500 claim to Southwest, she received word that Southwest had denied her claim. When she pressed Southwest for a reason, Outman claims Southwest simply told her there was a “discrepancy” in her claim that required no further explanation.
Southwest now says it is “reconsidering” her claim.
Maybe this is a story about how Southwest will try to wear you out and you have to be insistent if you want compensation for your lost, delayed, or damaged bag. Maybe this is a non-story because Southwest is still examining the information and we don’t know what its final decision will be. But I tend to think the big story is the thief itself. I am frankly surprised we are not seeing more instances of baggage theft. When has there been a better time to steal a bag than in an era in which all passengers and all employees must wear masks?
Yet another reason not to check a bag…
image: Fox 31 Denver / Fair Use Exception