Giovanni De Luca, luggage thief, being arrested in Florida on August 11th.
Facebook | Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office

Serial Luggage Thief Caught Because He Also Stole An AirTag

Traveling by air is probably one of the most stressful ordeals one can go through in 2022. Delays and cancelations are happening constantly, and even when you do reach your destination, there's a pretty decent chance your luggage could be lost or misplaced.

But what no one really warns you about is stolen luggage, which probably isn't a huge concern, but still a concern nonetheless.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in Florida caught and arrested a luggage thief responsible for stealing over $15,ooo worth of jewelry and other items.

Giovanni De Luca, convicted with grand theft in relation to two stolen suitcases.
Facebook | Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office

Authorities identified 19-year-old Giovanni De Luca as the person of interest in multiple stolen luggage cases that took place at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport in Florida.

De Luca had been working at the airport over the summer.

An Apple AirTag device, similar to the one used to find the missing luggage.
Unsplash | Onur Binay

The theft was reported to the police in July, when the victim reported a suitcase with over $1,600 worth of items missing, as well as an Apple AirTag.

A second traveler reported that they were missing $15,ooo worth of jewelry.

Various gold and silver necklaces and chains.
Unsplash | Alex Chambers

As it turns out, the AirTag that one of the travelers had reported missing, would be the key to the police finding De Luca and his whereabouts.

The AirTag had last been active in the Kathy Court area of Mary Esther, Florida.

A person using an AirTag as well as the GPS on their phone.
Unsplash | Đức Trịnh

However, it seems that the thief had found and disabled the AirTag, a safety feature that Apple has implemented to prevent cases of unwanted tracking.

In this case, though, the location was enough for the police to go off of.

A police cruiser driving down a city street.
Unsplash | Matt Popovich

The police used the data to search for any airport employees who lived in the Kathy Court area, and found De Luca shortly after.

According to county police, they made "consensual contact" with De Luca.

A brown bag with an AirTag attached to it.
Unsplash | Thai Nguyen

On August 10th, De Luca admitted to police that he did, in fact, steal the suitcase containing the jewelry, which has since been recovered. He also admitted to finding and turning off the AirTag.

However, the belongings of the traveler who owned the AirTag have not been recovered.

The bright sirens of a police car at night.
Unsplash | Scott Rodgerson

De Luca has since been charged with grand theft, which is classified as a theft of $750 or more in goods. In the state of Florida, grand theft is considered a felony.

If convicted, De Luca could face up to 10 years in prison.

A judge's gavel resting on a white surface.
Unsplash | Tingey Injury Law Firm

He would also be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000. It just goes to show that crime never pays in the end.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office posted about the theft on their Facebook page.

Local police arresting Giovanni De Luca.
Facebook | Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office

In their update, they wrote about the methods they used to catch and identify De Luca, which included making use of the AirTag's last known location.

They also praised the hard work of everyone involved.

A police car parked at the side of a city street.
Unsplash | Rémi Boyer

"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," Sheriff Eric Aden said in a statement.