The mystery of passengers’ luggage disappearing on the way to Paris Beauvais airport appears to have been solved after the conviction of two thieves this week.
One of the men would hide in a suitcase whilst his accomplice would place him in the luggage compartment of the bus that links Porte Maillot to Paris Beauvais airport, a hub for low-cost airlines to the north of Paris.
While he was alone in the luggage compartment he would free himself from his own suitcase – using a fairly basic technique of attaching a lace to the zip on the inside of the bag – before rifling through those of other passengers, pilfering whatever he could.
He would then slink back into his hiding place and his accomplice, posing as a normal passenger would take him off the bus at the airport.
The pair would then carry out the scam all over again on the next journey.
A source at France’s border police (PAF) told AFP that passengers “had noticed their possessions had been stolen during the journey”.
On Friday October 13th one of the bus drivers at Porte Maillot, in the west of Paris, noticed a “passenger” loading an enormous brown suitcase onto the bus and realized there was movement inside the luggage.
The driver, who was aware of the spate of thefts on the buses discretely alerted Beauvais airport security who then brought in the police.
On arrival at Beauvais the police followed the thief who was wheeling the large brown suitcase and carrying a rucksack on his back.
When police finally stopped him, they found the rucksack was full of laptops, tablets, telephones, money and other valuables and the brown suitcase contained a “curled-up individual”.
The pair, both aged in their 40s were known to police for a history of theft. The accomplice was slapped with a 12-month sentence and the man who hid in the case was given eight months.
A magistrate told AFP that although the pair’s modus operandi was not common, it wasn’t the first time they had come across it.
So passengers travelling to Paris airports might be wise to put a padlock on their bags in future.