- The Washington Times - Friday, August 12, 2022

A Florida man was arrested Wednesday after he was accused of stealing $16,000 worth of luggage from two flyers while working at Destin-Fort Walton Beach airport once an Apple AirTag device tipped off the items’ location.

The suspect, Giovanni De Luca, 19, who worked at the airport as an airline subcontractor, was charged with two counts of grand theft.

In July, a passenger reported her luggage containing items worth more than $1,600 never arrived at the airport. The unnamed victim noted at the time that her Apple AirTag, which she placed in the luggage, last appeared near Kathy Court in Mary Esther, Florida.

The town and airport are located in Okaloosa County in Florida’s panhandle, which abuts the Gulf of Mexico.

On Tuesday, another passenger reported that $15,000 in jewelry and other assorted items were missing from his luggage.

Deputies at the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office had, in investigating the two crimes, cross-referenced Kathy Court with airline employees and discovered that Mr. De Luca resides there.

On Wednesday, investigators made “consensual contact” with Mr. De Luca at his home at the 200 block of Kathy Court, according to a statement from the OCSO.

Officers said they recovered the items that had been reported as stolen on Tuesday.

Mr. De Luca admitted to ransacking the first victim’s luggage and removing her Apple AirTag, but her items were not at his residence and have not been recovered, according to the sheriff’s office.

The suspect was then arrested and charged.

“This arrest is an example of excellent teamwork by our Airport Security Unit, our investigators, and the airport to find the person responsible for these thefts and make sure he is held responsible,” Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden said in a statement.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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