Passenger uses Apple Watch pings to track down missing luggage to Florida airport worker’s home

Paola Garcia used her initiative to find her missing case – and now an airport worker is under arrest

Amelia Neath
Wednesday 05 June 2024 11:23 BST
Passenger uses Apple Watch pings to track down missing luggage to Florida airport worker's home

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A Spirit Airlines passenger used her Apple Watch to track down her missing luggage, only to find it at the home of a Fort Lauderdale airport retail worker.

Paola Garcia was waiting at Carousel 4 inside Terminal 4 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to collect her luggage; however, her hardshell pink suitcase never turned up on the conveyor belt, she told Local10.

“In my mind, I’m thinking I need my computer because I go to the university, I need my computer no matter what,” Garcia said. “I was waiting there at least two hours.”

The passenger told Spirit Airlines about her issue,. The airline said it would send her luggage to her address.

However, the next morning after her flight, she realized her Apple Watch packed inside her suitcase had started to send a signal not from the airport, but from a home in Fort Lauderdale.

What Garcia did not know at the time, was that her suitcase had been allegedly taken by 29-year-old Junior Bazile, who, in surveillance footage, was seen rummaging through the case in the back of an airport retail store he worked at, according to an arrest affidavit and pictures obtained by the outlet.

Junior Bazile is accused by the passenger of taking her luggage at the Fort Lauderdale airport
Junior Bazile is accused by the passenger of taking her luggage at the Fort Lauderdale airport (Broward County)

Bazile allegedly took various items out of the case and then placed Garcia’s suitcase in a clear plastic bag, the police report said.

Garcia told the local outlet that after she got the signal from her Apple Watch, she decided to go to the house herself because she had a “test that day” and needed her computer.

Once she arrived, she allegedly saw a number of suitcases all around the property and decided to call 911.

“The first thing the police told me was like, ‘What are you doing here? This is so dangerous for you to be here,’” Garcia said in the interview.

A detective from the Broward Sheriff’s Office then put the address of the house through an internal airport database and discovered that Bazile worked at a retail store inside the airport and was logged as working the day Garcia’s suitcase went missing.

Bazile was later arrested by police and charged with grand theft, the outlet reports.

Several days later, Bazile appeared in court for a status hearing on the charge. When asked by Local10 about allegedly stealing the items, he replied, “Go away.”

Spirit Airlines told the outlet that they have “issued a reimbursement check to the guest as a courtesy, even though we are not currently aware of any evidence that any Spirit employee was involved.”

“We take any allegation of this nature seriously, and we are investigating,” they added.

The Sheriff’s Office also said the incident remains under investigation.

A spokesperson for the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport said they “do not condone any illegal activity at our airport.”

“Per the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Part 1542, all airport employees must undergo a Criminal History Records Check and a Security Threat Assessment in order to obtain an airport badge, as required by the Transportation Security Administration. When BCAD is made aware of any illegal activity that may be occurring at FLL, we work closely with the appropriate local and/or federal law enforcement partners to address the matter as swiftly as possible. Please note, passenger bags checked with an airline are under that carrier’s care and responsibility,” they added.

The Independent has contacted the Broward Sheriff’s Office for comment.

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