The possibility that my checked luggage won’t make it to my final destination is one of my biggest worries when traveling by plane. As such, learning that authorities can harness the power of Apple’s AirTags to do good and find missing luggage was quite comforting, almost enough to make me forget the creepy things people do with the little tracking discs.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office in Florida announced Saturday that it had arrested 19-year-old Giovanni De Luca for allegedly stealing an entire suitcase and taking more than $15,000 worth of jewelry and other items from another piece of luggage at the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, where the teen works as an airline subcontractor, in July and August. The traveler who reported the missing suitcase in July told authorities that it contained more than $1,600 in items as well as an AirTag, which was key in the investigation.
According to the sheriff’s office, the traveler with the AirTag told police that the last time it had been active was in the area of Kathy Court in the city of Mary Esther, Florida. Apple allows people who find an AirTag that is not theirs to disable it and stop it from sharing its location with its owner.
However, this last piece of location data was apparently enough for police, who then started searching for airport employees who lived near Kathy Court.
“[Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office] investigators made consensual contact with De Luca [on Aug. 10] at his home on Kathy Court. They were able to recover the items reported missing August 9th,” police wrote in a statement on Facebook. “De Luca also admitted rummaging through the first victim’s suitcase and removing an Apple Airtag. Her belongings have not been recovered.”
De Luca is charged with two counts of grand theft, which is a felony in Florida. If convicted, he could face a five to 10-year prison sentence as well as a fine of up to $10,000.