Keith King and Stacy Lynne Legg-King had it down to a science: Walk in to the baggage hall in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, grab someone's bag, and walk out.
Repeat this nearly 1,000 times.
Yes, the pair was able to steal roughly 1,000 bags from Sky Harbor before police caught on and arrested them both Monday. King was actually nabbed a few weeks ago (for stealing luggage) but was released. Police kept an eye on him, and sure enough, he went right back to work. On Monday, police followed King to the airport, watched as he stole a piece of luggage, and then followed him to his home. The house, it turned out, was in complete chaos, with other people's luggage and clothing strewn everywhere.
Police do not yet know how long the thefts have been going on.
So, down to a science? Maybe, but rocket science it is not. Sky Harbor, like other airports around the nation, long ago stopped checking passengers' baggage claim tickets as a cost savings measure. Instead, the process is entirely up to passengers, and you arrive late to the carousel at your own risk. This allowed the thieves to slip in, grab unclaimed baggage, and slip out with hardly a whiff of suspicion.
As for the travelers whose bags were stolen? Reuniting bags with their owners will be tricky. King and Legg-King (whose relationship to each other is so far unknown) stripped luggage tags and any other identifiers, leaving most of the stolen luggage anonymous. Nevertheless, police will attempt to return as much luggage as possible, and individuals who believe they may be victims of this theft can call 602-262-6151.