Baggage handlers detained over thefts at Paris airport

Eleven baggage handlers and two maintenance workers were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of stealing valuables from bags going through the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

Police said the gang had targeted flights coming in from Dubai, Johannesburg, Washington DC and New York and had taken items including jewellery, designer clothes and leather goods.

Four of the suspects were arrested at the airport and the other nine were detained in dawn raids on their homes.

The suspected gang has been under investigation since October 2011, when police discovered a number of broken padlocks near a luggage belt in a warehouse belonging to a handling company.

Although the warehouse was fitted with closed circuit cameras, there were areas which were not covered.

A total of 20 people were arrested in February 2011 in connection with other luggage thefts of an estimated value of 750,000 euros.

The previous year, 12 baggage handlers were given suspended six-month prison terms for their part in thefts uncovered in 2008.

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