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Florida airport employee accused of stealing luggage items valued at over $16,000

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A subcontractor working at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport near the Florida Panhandle coast has been arrested for reportedly stealing passenger belongings valued at over $16,000.

Giovanni De Luca, 19, of Mary Esther, Florida, has been accused of stealing one woman's suitcase and all the belongings contained within it back in July. He has also been accused of stealing expensive jewelry and other items contained within another man's luggage earlier this week, though not luggage receptacle itself.

Last month, a female airline passenger reported that her suitcase had never arrived at her destination. She said that an AirTag located in the suitcase had last been active in Kathy Court, Florida. She valued the lost luggage at $1,600.

Then on August 9, a male traveler reported that over $15,000 worth of jewelry and other items had been taken from his suitcase.

According to a statement from the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, police then "cross-referenced" the two cases, searching for airport employees who might live in the vicinity where the AirTag had last reported.

The statement adds that police then made "consensual contact" with De Luca regarding the missing items. Authorities were then able to search De Luca's residence and recover the missing items belonging to the male traveler.

Though police say De Luca admitted to rifling through the woman's luggage and removing the AirTag, her suitcase was not found during a search of De Luca's home.

De Luca has been charged with two counts of third-degree grand theft and released on a $7,000 bond.

"This arrest is an example of excellent teamwork by our Airport Security Unit, our Investigators, and the Airport to find the person responsible for these thefts and make sure he is held responsible," said Sheriff Eric Aden.

It is unclear what type of job De Luca performed at the airport.

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