A conveyor belt operator at the airport was caught for stealing a laptop and a digital camera from the checked-in baggage of a passenger travelling from Colombo by a Jet airways flight on Thursday morning. After the passenger lodged a complaint that his bag with a laptop was missing CCTV footage helped the airport manager and the police zero in on the culprit, conveyor belt operator Ashok Kumar, a native of Senji engaged by a private contractor. He had removed the laptop and the camera and hidden them near the conveyor belt. Two liquor bottles, a mobile phone and an umbrella were also seized from him. He said he had stolen perfumes, mobile phones and laptops earlier. The stolen goods were sold among friends and also used as gifts to other airport staff in return for favours.
Search is on to unravel more people involved in such cases since airlines and airport officials had reported many such complaints of similar thefts in recent months of missing ipads, mobile phones, jewellery, watches and other electronic items from bags. Many complaints do not reach the police because most passengers come to know about the loss only after reaching their destination. Staff of private agencies are known to steal valuables after the bags unloaded from the cargo hatch of aircraft on to the conveyor belt are scanned before they enter the passenger side of the conveyor belt, airline officials said.