Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa International baggage handlers arrested after thefts

TAMPA — Three Tampa International Airport baggage handlers have been charged with dealing in stolen property taken from Continental Airlines passengers' luggage.

TIA police arrested the men Friday and identified them as subcontractors who worked for DAL Global Services, an Atlanta company hired by Continental to provide airport support personnel.

Cell phones, digital cameras, sunglasses, laptops and a Global Positioning System tracking device were among the stolen items that police said they recovered. Detectives say they are trying to contact all the theft victims.

A TIA spokeswoman had no comment Sunday, citing the ongoing investigation.

Arrest reports did not indicate how long the thefts have been taking place or how they were accomplished.

Julie King, a spokeswoman for Continental, said she would not have details of the investigation until today.

All three suspects are Tampa residents, and two remained in custody Sunday night. Police charged Ernie A. Azucey, 23, of 8510 N Hyaleah Road with 33 counts of dealing in stolen property. His bail was set at $247,500. Efrain "Junjo" Malave-Bermudez Jr., 34, of 6720 S Lois Ave., Apt. 7108, faces seven counts of dealing in stolen property. His bail was set at $52,500.

Juan David Ayende-Nieves, 52, of 2004 E Lake Ave., Apt. D, was charged with four counts of dealing in stolen property. He was released Saturday on $30,000 bail.

Arrest reports said Continental officials tracked the thefts through a laptop outfitted with a monitoring device by the security company Absolute Software. The airline directed the laptop to a Houston-bound flight leaving Tampa on March 12 and reported it stolen in Houston when it did not arrive.

The tracking device was designed to activate once someone activated the laptop and connected it to the Internet, the arrest report said.

The security company's software system detected the computer's use Tuesday, when an unidentified woman accessed a MySpace account.

She continued using the Internet during the next two days, and detectives contacted her Friday. She told investigators that the laptop came from her boyfriend's father, baggage handler Ayende-Nieves.

Ayende-Nieves told police that he bought the laptop for $350 from Azucey. He said he believed the property was stolen because it was so cheap and that he had other items he believed were stolen, including an iPod Shuffle and a digital camera.

Azucey told police that he bought the laptop from another man he had witnessed stealing from checked luggage in the past. The arrest report listed that man's name as Rene Lopez.

From Azucey's home, detectives recovered a Dell laptop, three cell phones, five digital cameras, nine pairs of sunglasses, two FM transmitters, two iPods, a Garmin GPS device, seven cell phone chargers, an MP3 player, a calculator, a card reader and three pairs of headphones. Azucey told police that he purchased the items from Lopez.

Additional information on Lopez's connection to the case or potential charges or arrest was unavailable Sunday. Additional information about Malave-Bermudez was also unavailable.

According to its Web site, DAL Global Services is a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines that provides staffing to more than three dozen airlines in areas that include passenger handling, cabin and cargo services, and aircraft and ground support equipment maintenance.

The employees who collect baggage curbside for Continental work for G2 Secure Staff. Those employees don't work with the Delta Global Services baggage handlers, who move luggage after it has been checked.

TIA's curbside baggage handlers said Sunday that they did not know those arrested.

Times staff writer Jessica Vander Velde contributed to this report. Kevin Graham can be reached at kgraham@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3433.

Tampa International baggage handlers arrested after thefts 03/30/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 7, 2008 4:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

    Blogs

    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  5. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.