British Columbia

Alleged baggage thief arrested after raiding YVR 4 times, police say

Richmond RCMP say a 46-year-old Vancouver man was arrested after stealing travellers' luggage from Vancouver International Airport.

YVR says 'multiple' layers of security in place to protect passengers and their belongings

Passengers walk through YVR with their bags in hand. Police advise passengers at the airport to always claim their bags immediately after deplaning.

Richmond RCMP say they have arrested a man for stealing luggage from travellers going through Vancouver International Airport.

Police say the man raided baggage carousels in the domestic arrival terminal at least four times during September and stole at least one piece of luggage with contents worth several thousand dollars.

The latest incident took place during the evening of Sept. 24. The suspect, a 46-year-old Vancouver man, was arrested Sept. 26.

"In the past several weeks, we responded to calls for service from travellers in the domestic arrivals area reporting lost luggage," said Cpl. Dennis Hwang.

"Through our investigation, it was determined that the luggage was stolen from carousels before their respective owners could retrieve them."

Hwang says the man is well known to police. He has not yet been charged with an offence.

Airport defends security

Hwang says the man was identified with the help of high-quality security footage. When he returned on Sept. 26, Hwang says he was arrested without incident.

He says baggage theft at the airport is not something police often respond to. It is complicated by the fact its arrival can often be delayed or sent to the wrong destination.

"We have to be sure it is theft," he said. "There are times luggage is actually lost in transit, but if we have evidence to suggest otherwise, we'll pursue it."

A spokesperson for the airport declined to be interviewed but defended the airport's security measures when it comes to baggage.

"We have multiple layers of security in place at YVR and we work with our partners, such as the RCMP and airlines, to ensure safe airport operations," Tess Messmer wrote. "This includes the tens of thousands of bags that pass securely through our system every day."

Hwang says police advise travellers to go to baggage carousels to claim their luggage immediately upon arrival at YVR.