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How AirTags led police to an alleged luggage thief at Florida airport

Aug. 16, 2022
3 min read
bags crowded together in airport
How AirTags led police to an alleged luggage thief at Florida airport
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AirTags continue to prove themselves as the heroes we didn't know we needed in 2022.

Apple's tracking device helped locate a traveler's missing suitcase and items after failing to arrive at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) earlier this month, due to alleged theft by an airport employee.

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Police successfully located a traveler's missing suitcase containing more than $15,000 worth of jewelry after the traveler reported that her bag was missing on Aug. 9. It never appeared on the luggage carousel at VPS, according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office Airport Security Unit, located outside of Fort Walton Beach.

Officers found the missing items using an AirTag that the traveler had placed in her bag, which police used to identify its location in Mary Esther, Florida, via the Find My app per a press release issued by the department.

"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," Sheriff Eric Aden said in a statement on Facebook on Aug.11.

The defendant, an airline subcontractor working at VPS at the time of the incidents, allegedly removed an AirTag when rummaging through the victim's suitcase. The AirTag reportedly showed the location where the suitcase had last been seen, which led authorities to its retrieval. A second victim also claimed they lost a suitcase that never arrived to the airport in July, containing more than $1,600 worth of items, but police said those belongings had not yet been recovered.

TPG reached out to the police department for additional comments but hadn't heard back by press time.

AirTags have made headlines this year, helping travelers deal with mounting baggage issues at European airports amidst a summer of flight delays and cancelations, further increasing the likelihood of losing checked luggage.

AirTags have exploded in popularity, in part no doubt, because of all the lost luggage issues.

These handy devices are slightly larger than a quarter and easily fit into a suitcase, allowing travelers to passively keep track of their luggage by slipping one into a pocket in their suitcase or attaching the device as a bag tag.

If your bag gets lost or delayed in transit, you can use Bluetooth to track your suitcase via nearby Apple devices, specifically compatible iPhones or iPads.

You can use the Find My app to track your suitcase via nearby Apple devices, including iPhones and iPads (Airtags connect to any Bluetooth-enabled device on the iOS platform.) If an item is marked "lost," the device will ping and notify you of the location when discovered without transmitting personal data in the process.

Currently, AirTags are available online for purchase. They generally cost less than $100 for a four-pack or around a quarter of that for a single AirTag.

Read our guide for everything you need to know about using AirTags.

For even more, read on:

Featured image by Featured image by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images.
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
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Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases