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Italy Baggage Handler Thieves Caught By Secret Cameras

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A framegrab of a closed-circuit video released by police late Saturday, Aug. 24, 2002, shows a baggage handler in action at Milan's Malpensa airport, in Varese, recently. Forty baggage handlers have been placed under investigation for allegedly stealing pearls, cameras and other high-priced goods out of passengers' luggage. The investigation was launched over a year ago following an unusually high number of complaints from passengers saying their luggage had been robbed. (AP Photo/Pulicelli) | AP

ROME -- Italian police have arrested 29 airport baggage handlers accused of stealing cameras, cellphones and other loot from passengers' luggage, a bust made possible after hidden cameras were installed in airplane cargo holds where the thefts occurred.

Italian national carrier Alitalia said Friday it cooperated with police at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport and in Lamezia Terme, in the "toe" of boot-shaped Italy, where the investigation began in 2011 and spread to a half-dozen airports across the country.

Lamezia Terme airport deputy police chief Ferruccio Martucci said investigators were stumped where the loot was being stolen and theorized that the only place where handlers could be assured of secrecy was in the cargo holds. He said police installed temperature-and -pressure resistant cameras in the holds and identified the thieves.

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