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Sky Harbor to conduct random baggage checks

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport began a new policy Nov. 10 of conducting random baggage checks following the arrest of a couple accused of stealing nearly 1,000 bags of luggage.

Sky Harbor Airport spokeswoman Alisa Smith said staff of the various airlines will be checking that luggage identification matches passengers’ ID or claim checks.

“Airline personnel will be working throughout the baggage claim area. They can approach you,” Smith said. “Passengers who hand their photo ID and have claim checks ready if approached by staff won’t be delayed in exiting the airport.”

Smith said many airports around the country have done away with routine baggage claim checks.

“We feel that it’s important our customers have a smooth experience while they’re here. Anything that we can do to ensure a safe as well as secure environment is what we’ll do,” Smith said.

Other changes include increased video surveillance and police patrols in the baggage claim area.

Authorities advise passengers to mark luggage clearly and pick up bags as soon as possible upon arrival. Also, travelers should keep valuables such as jewelry and medication in a carryon bag.

On Nov. 2, law enforcement arrested Keith King, 61, and his wife, Stacy Lynne Legg-King, 38, on burglary and possession of stolen property charges.

Police found personal belongings piled from floor to ceiling in their Phoenix-area home. Locked safes, medical equipment and clothing were among the items they were hoarding. Many of the bags had been stripped of any identifying information.

Authorities believe the Kings had been taking luggage from the airport for at least a year.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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