St. Louis Police: Four Women Stole Electronics From Airline Passengers

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Airport police in St. Louis think they broke up a ring of thieves stealing iPads, iPods and eBook readers from planes.

On August 7th, The St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office indicted four female employees of ABM Janitorial for stealing electronics left behind on the SW Airlines planes they clean.

Lawanda Barnes, Tiffany Barnes, Rachel Doss and Ashley Glen all face Class C felony charges.

FOX 2’s Chris Hayes uncovered this exclusive story and tried talking to two of the women who live in an apartment that sits in the shadow of the airport.  A man inside said they could not talk.

Criminal indictments say three of the women stole six iPads, two iPods, five Kindles and one Nook eBook reader.  Prosecutors say the 4th woman took one of the stolen iPads to sell at a pawn shop.

Tom Bateman said it does not surprise him.  In fact, he said he expects people to steal something he leaves on a plane.  Bateman said, “Yes, I don’t dare (leave something on a plane).

Hayes followed up, “That’s kind of sad.”

Bateman, “It is. In this day and age it is.”

Hayes, “Why do you expect it?”

Bateman, “You know the way the economy is somebody’s hurting for stuff, if somebody sees something they’re going to pick it up.”

Others say it’s common for people to leave stuff behind and passengers should not be punished for being forgetful. Melissa Maybearry works at a restaurant.  She said, “Ladies have left their purses and I automatically take them to the manager and get them back to the person.  They’re local people here in the community so they’re quick to come back and get their stuff and they’re so grateful.”

ABM responded to this case with this statement. “Pursuant to ABM’s long-standing policies and procedures, the individuals involved were terminated from their positions with the Company immediately following the incident in November 2011.  All individuals employed by ABM undergo background checks as a condition of their employment, including one conducted by the TSA for airport employees.  Those background checks did not reveal information that would have prevented these individuals’ hiring.  After the incident occurred, ABM turned the case over to local law enforcement and has and will continue to cooperate with the authorities.”

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