Spirit Airlines passenger makes stolen baggage claim at airport employee’s HOME thanks to Apple Watch

An airport employee in Florida is facing felony charges after a determined passenger tracked down her missing luggage to his home.

Paola Garcia said she waited nearly two hours, growing more panicked as the baggage carousel at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport failed to produce her luggage. Her pink hard-shell suitcase is usually carried on with her but on this particular Spirit Airlines flight, she had to check in the bag which contained her MacBook, Apple Watches, and other items.

Though the airline assured her the missing bag would be sent to her home, the location tracked by one of her Apple Watches painted a different picture.

“In my mind, I’m thinking I need my computer because I go to the university, I need my computer no matter what,” Garcia told local news station WPLG. “I was waiting there at least two hours.”

(Video Credit: ABC10 News)

Forced to check her bag as her Spirit Airlines flight departed New York to return her home to Florida, Garcia understandably panicked when it did not show up on the luggage conveyor belt as she watched other passengers retrieve their belongings.

“We sent your luggage to your house, so I give my address to Spirit,” she recounted reporting her missing bag to airline employees.

She only later learned that as she was waiting and then reporting her missing suitcase, 29-year-old Junior Bazile was allegedly going through her belongings in a back room at the airport where he worked.

The next day, her Apple Watch began sending her a signal – only it was not coming from the airport.

“So you’re at home and your watch is pinging at a house in Fort Lauderdale?” WPLG reporter Jeff Weinsier asked Garcia.

“Fifteen minutes from the airport,” she replied.

“So you decided to go to this house?” Weinsier asked.

“Yes, because I said how can Spirit deliver my suitcase there,” she responded. “Yes, because I needed my computer. I have test that day.”

Determined to find her possessions, Garcia headed to the home and arrived to find, to her shock, that there were suitcases “all over the place,” according to the news outlet. She proceeded to capture the scene on video and called 911.

“The first thing the police told me was like, ‘What are you doing here? This is so dangerous for you to be here,’” Garcia said.

“A Broward Sheriff’s Office detective put the address of the house through an internal airport database and found Bazile, who worked for a company that operates retail stores inside FLL,” WPLG reported. “He was working the day Garcia’s suitcase was stolen.”

A police investigation revealed that the suspect, who worked at Paradies Shops inside the airport, had been rummaging through Garcia’s things before placing her suitcase in a large clear plastic bag, as photos showed.

(Image” Broward County via WPLG)

According to police, the MacBook, two Apple Watches, an iPad, jewelry, and designer clothes were all stolen. Unfortunately for Garcia, Bazile was no longer in possession of the items when authorities confronted him.

The local news report also noted the bizarre encounter their reporter had with the suspect’s mother.

While the WPLG reporter was unable to reach the suspect, the news outlet noted that “Weinsier had a seven-minute-plus cordial conversation” with Bazile’s mother, “who never asked him to leave and answered his questions.”

“The police come in here and they don’t find nothing,” she told him. “Nothing in my house. Nothing in my house.”

But then, according to WPLG, she screamed at the reporter, grabbed his ID tag, and then accused him of striking her. Of course, the entire incident was caught on camera and police were able to view what had happened when they arrived.

(Image: WPLG screenshot)

The reporter has opted not to press charges. As for Bazile, he was arrested and charged with grand theft,  a felony offense in Florida for amounts over $750. If convicted, he could face five to 30 years in prison as well as fines.

Meanwhile, Spirit Airlines said it was “not aware” of any evidence that one of their employees was involved and reportedly issued Garcia a “courtesy check.”

“We issued a reimbursement check to the guest as a courtesy, even though we are not currently aware of any evidence that any Spirit employee was involved. We take any allegation of this nature seriously, and we are investigating,” the airline said in a statement to WPLG.

 

Frieda Powers

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