It’s a story Eyewitness Investigator Katie Moore first broke on Thursday.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office confirms the baggage handlers worked for at least one airline, and the thefts span at least nine months.
“I’m taking things out and unpacking, I’m looking and thinking, I’m missing something. My whole bag is rearranged,” said Mackie Shilstone.
A rearranged bag on a trip to California is the red flag WWLTV Fitness Expert Mackie Shilstone first spotted in July. He would quickly realize a Mac Air laptop was missing from his checked baggage after leaving New Orleans.
“There is a personal responsibility whether it be American [Airlines] or anyone else to take care of my bag for the short period of time that they have it,” said Mackie.
Shilstone isn’t the only victim to fly in and out of Louis Armstrong International Airport to then find personal belongings missing.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office confirms it busted a three-person ring at the airport doing just that. The sheriff’s office says all three baggage handlers work for a subsidiary of American Airlines called Envoy Air.
“The way it came to us, an apple computer that was missing had been pawned here locally here in Jefferson Parish from someone travelling from New Orleans to Dallas, Texas,” said Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand. He says the laptop along with monitoring at the airport are what helped crack the case.
“We began to monitor the area and were able to determine that she was involved. We stopped her outside her vehicle at the airport. We found a lot of items inside her vehicle,” said Normand.
Jefferson Parish investigators say inside 22-year-old Neisghal Santana’s car they found two iPads, two laptops, a Go Pro camera and a Kindle that was reported stolen earlier this year.
The sheriff’s office says most of the thefts at the airport were electronic devices, starting in January if not earlier.
It’s unclear if Shilstone’s laptop will turn up in this investigation, but after reaching out to TSA and American Airlines with little response, he turned to Eyewitness News a few months back wanting to shed light on a baggage theft problem at the airport.
“American Airlines caring less, TSA, they don’t even know their own rules. I’ve been in sports 35 years. You get backed into a corner, you can take the punches only so long, and then you come out in the center of the ring,” said Shilstone.
The sheriff’s office is still trying to determine if other airlines were impacted. If you’ve had items taken from your checked baggage at Armstrong International Airport since January, you’re urged to file a report with local authorities.
Romalice Honeycutt and Neishal Santana were also arrested in connection with the case.
James faces two counts of theft of a firearm, Honeycutt faces a principal to theft of a firearm charge and Santana faces one count of theft and possession of stolen property.