Lol: Guy Tracks Stolen Luggage To House In Anchorage Using AirTags

Lol: Guy Tracks Stolen Luggage To House In Anchorage Using AirTags

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AirTags really are one of the greatest travel inventions in recent times…

United Airlines passenger has film equipment stolen

A Twitter user named Errol Webber (who refers to himself as a “documentary film producer,” but looking at his stuff, I’m not so sure that’s accurate) Tweeted last night about how he had something stolen out of his checked luggage while flying with United Airlines. Typically this would be a really frustrated Tweet where you’d feel helpless, but the tone here is quite different, thanks to AirTags.

Webber Tweeted at United, saying “one of your employees at Anchorage Airport rummaged through my luggage and took some film equipment with them.” He also said that this person “inadvertently took [his] Apple AirTag that [he] had hidden.”

So he asks the airline if the employee living at a specific address in Anchorage could please give him his stuff back. He even includes screenshots showing the exact place that his luggage is allegedly located, and an Apple Maps view of the neighborhood. He also shows where the bag’s AirTag is located (somewhere near Los Angeles), compared to the film equipment’s AirTag.

https://twitter.com/ErrolWebber/status/1587283848936574976

Now, in fairness to United, we don’t actually know who stole his equipment. Checked luggage is potentially handled by quite a few people (TSA agents, contract workers, etc.), so it’s anyone’s guess who exactly was behind this. Presumably it could be figured out by looking up who owns the address, figuring out who they might be connected to, etc., but that all seems a bit creepy at this point.

For those not familiar, Apple AirTags are an easy way to keep track of your stuff. You just attach them to an item, and then you can track the location of it through your Apple device. Presumably these weren’t necessarily intended for luggage, though they have become super useful when traveling.

Is this the best ad for AirTags, or what?

Having luggage lost or stolen is such a helpless feeling. Not only are valuables potentially taken away from you, but the process of recovering them can be incredibly aggravating. Well, at least that was the case until AirTags. It really is incredible what a game changer these have been, as we’ve now seen several similar cases where a traveler tracks their stolen luggage down to a specific house.

If this isn’t the best ad for Apple AirTags, then I don’t know what is. For that matter, I’m kind of surprised thieves haven’t gotten savvier, and looked more carefully whether items have AirTags before stealing them. You’re quite literally incriminating yourself if you steal something with a tag that can be tracked to wherever you are.

Bottom line

In a viral Tweet, a man flying with United Airlines was able to track some film equipment that was stolen from his luggage thanks to AirTags. He knew exactly which house in Anchorage they were allegedly in, and asked the airline to get in touch with that employee.

I’m really curious to see what happens from here — hopefully he gets his equipment back, and the person responsible faces some punishment for this theft. Hopefully in the long run, more stories like this deter luggage theft.

What do you make of this United Airlines AirTags incident?

Conversations (42)
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  1. NNoo Guest

    I just flew back internationally and at check in they asked several times if I had ANY lithium ion batteries in the suitcase. Chargers, camera batteries, anything. Then at the gate, they reiterated that no one should have any batteries in their suitcases, INCLUDING tracking devices. So check with airlines, I have had my bag removed from the plane before for a small lipstick charger.

  2. Robert martin Guest

    Had my ski boot bag not arrive in Denver from an Anchorage red-eye and the gate agent in Denver said the ramp agent probably tagged it with the scanner but then took it home. They’re compact high value bags and apparently it happens more often than not. Filed lost luggage claim and received about half its value.
    Who keeps all receipts? Frustrating

    1. Mike Guest

      Reminds me of the time I landed in Seattle. I quickly used the bathroom near the bag collection area and as I was walking out I caught a female from the corner of my eye wheeling my bag out the door. I quickly ran up to her said this is my bag. I was so shocked assumed she may have grabbed the wrong bag but she quickly jumped in to a car waiting for her by the exit door and sped off. After that experience I never put anything valuable in my luggage.

  3. William Whittington Guest

    I use them on my golf bag and on my range finder....several times I have used it to find items in other people's golf cart when they claim they had not seen it...'oh you mean this range finder'...can't say enough about these things to help people like me who misplace keys, etc...i only wish the volume was louder

  4. Fckthieves Guest

    I have had things stolen with air tags. The police give zero cares if you can track your equipment. They will not visit someone's house on heresay. They still have no proof of how they obtained the goods. Air tags are useless in this game.

    1. reddargon Diamond

      You say this, yet police have used Airtags on at least one occasion to arrest an airport worker: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/airtag-leads-arrest-airline-worker-accused-stealing-least-15000-items-rcna43547

  5. Rrapynot Guest

    I don’t think this would give the police probably cause to get a warrant. At best the police might offer to go over to the house and ask but I think that would be the extent of it.

    1. reddargon Diamond

      I think it would depend on whether other evidence exists, but Airtags have certainly been used to help get search warrants (https://news.yahoo.com/air-tag-stolen-van-leads-102932551.html).

  6. dwondermeant Guest

    would the police even get involved?

  7. Donna Diamond

    Even if UA gets to the bottom of this and discovers that thief is an employee, I’d doubt that discovery would be made public.

  8. NorCal Dave Guest

    So, I had recently traveled on United and had bought air tags for this very purpose. The problem is, United specifically notes that devices with lithium batteries NOT be left in checked luggage. The counter persons also ask you directly when checking bags. Yes these are cool devices. I have one on my dogs collar. However, if you follow the rules, it shouldn’t be in your checked bag.

    1. Lance Corporal Guest

      Police are going to make very little effort because it's only theft of property and no-one was physically harmed.

      Embarrassing (to a extent) the entire company will have 10000% quicker results because everyone anticipates a response from said company to resolve a very now public issue.

    2. Wigand Weirich Guest

      FAA has released / approved AirTags acc to my knowledge.

  9. OR Lewis Guest

    Good for this guy. Post it online for all to see. It is United's job to make sure the luggage is in good hands from the moment you hand it over to them to the moment you see it in the claim area.

  10. Sam Guest

    Circa 2012, this happened to me :)
    https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/laptop-limbo-1.982484

  11. The Joe Guest

    That's cool and all and hopefully helpful in exacting justice, but personally I don't quite get the appeal. If you have film equipment stolen on the way to a shoot, you somehow have to replace that equipment, right? Airtags won't be an immediate solution.
    The only thing I'd want to airtag are irreplaceables, and to the extent possible, I'm keeping those on my person.

    Between wife and self it's a stuffed monkey and a...

    That's cool and all and hopefully helpful in exacting justice, but personally I don't quite get the appeal. If you have film equipment stolen on the way to a shoot, you somehow have to replace that equipment, right? Airtags won't be an immediate solution.
    The only thing I'd want to airtag are irreplaceables, and to the extent possible, I'm keeping those on my person.

    Between wife and self it's a stuffed monkey and a hard drive that I back up to daily while on vacation (won't have copies until I return home). Everything else can be handled by insurance.

  12. Cranky Silver Guest

    I literally tweeted the exact same thing about my AirPods with a UA employee from Newark and received no response from united. I ended up breaking a few tray tables and a lavatory mirror on my remaining united flights to get back at them for ignoring me. Pound of flesh….

    1. Ray Guest

      So the rest of the passengers should pay the price? What are you, 6?

  13. globetrotter Guest

    Over a decade ago, the news reported that a passenger managed to retrieve his expensive laptop from the thief who worked at JFK airport. Nowadays, virtually everyone carries laptop with them. He put a tracking device on the laptop .The cop busted the thief at home with the reported stolen good and he was booked. Unsure if the airport cops worked in conjunction with NYPD or not because it is NYPD's jurisdiction outside the airport....

    Over a decade ago, the news reported that a passenger managed to retrieve his expensive laptop from the thief who worked at JFK airport. Nowadays, virtually everyone carries laptop with them. He put a tracking device on the laptop .The cop busted the thief at home with the reported stolen good and he was booked. Unsure if the airport cops worked in conjunction with NYPD or not because it is NYPD's jurisdiction outside the airport. JFK airport's baggage handlers are notorious of having sticky fingers.

  14. derek Guest

    The man's equipment is lost forever. The only hope of retrieving it is if he knocks on the door and gets it back at gunpoint or if the thief would rather be killed than give it up. Sad. Crime pays. Except the man who kills the other man will probably have to go to prison.

    1. Foo blah Guest

      Are you speaking from experience?

    2. derek Guest

      I watched someone kill a man. No charges were filed. No prison. I gave a statement. The man who did the killing was identified.

  15. Robert Guest

    Why do you find it creepy to see who owns the address where stolen goods are?

  16. guflyer Guest

    @Jim Rydell Do ear pods work the same as air tags? Does anyone know if one can put them in checked luggage on Lufthansa, since Lufthansa prohibits air tags from being checked?

    1. Lou Peppe Guest

      "Tile" is the comprable android equivilent. They've been around a long time and boast their network of connected devices is bigger than Apple's. You could try them.

    2. bill Guest

      tiles give general areas....airpods can give you step by step instructions to a device

    3. Jswede Guest

      No. AirPods work on blue tooth

    4. Klaus Guest

      Lufthansa does (again) allow air tags in checked bags

    5. Kiwi Guest

      Air pod pro 2 have a U1 chip so have the same functionality

  17. Jim Rydell Guest

    My nephew got back to his hotel room in Nashville a few weeks ago to fin his Apple ear pods missing. Although not the air tags, they are also traceable and he too saw them appear at a residence. The Managers of the hotel with cooperation of the police retrieved them for him. On another note I had an AirTag lightly taped to the bottom of my e-bike on the back of my car while...

    My nephew got back to his hotel room in Nashville a few weeks ago to fin his Apple ear pods missing. Although not the air tags, they are also traceable and he too saw them appear at a residence. The Managers of the hotel with cooperation of the police retrieved them for him. On another note I had an AirTag lightly taped to the bottom of my e-bike on the back of my car while driving from Montana to Calif about 6 weeks ago. I realize a few hundred miles later that the air tag had dropped off onto the highway. To this day it’s still showing its location on I80 near Battle Mountain Nevada! Also, just purchased an ebike in Miami & they installed an AirTag on my bike with a special holder in a place not easy to see. They said ALL bicycles should have one of these installed

  18. Mike Guest

    “ who refers to himself as a “documentary film producer,” but looking at his stuff, I’m not so sure that’s accurate”

    The man won an Oscar for producing a documentary…. What would it take beyond that to be accurate?!?

    1. Big AL Guest

      Didn't produce it, didn't do anything but film it, which he didn't win an Oscar for in cinematography so enough with his trying to take credit from others.

      I went to a school in the same city as an Oscar winner once.

      I 'won' 4 Oscars.

  19. JasonB Member

    That's great that AirTags show him where his equipment is, but getting his stuff back is a whole other story. My guess is that the local PD and United will elect to do nothing, or act so slowly that he never sees his stuff again.

  20. riku Guest

    Did he not think of contacting the police to help with this stolen goods situation?
    Since I don't live in the USA it might be possible that the police play a different role in society compared to elsewhere though.

    1. Andy Diamond

      I had the same thought. If I can see my bag is off airport premises, in a private residence, I would probably also first contact the policy and leave both restitution and investigation to them.

    2. Brad C Guest

      Probably already filed a police report or will have to eventually, either to make a claim against his own insurance or against United. He probably went to Twitter in the hope of getting his items back faster.

    3. Hobbs Guest

      This isn’t a lost baggage incident. It’s a criminal matter to which United had zero investigative powers. I mean, who are they going to send to that address to drag out the suspect? Chicago Aviation “Police”?

    4. Anchorage Man Guest

      The police wouldn't do a thing. Source: I live in Anchorage.

  21. Steven Guest

    As someone that puts Airtags in with all his camera equipment when he travels I have to say that I probably wouldn't be tweeting about it and hear me out.

    I live in California and the looting of photographers/videographers has gotten really out of hand in big cities like LA, SF and Oakland, so much so that individuals have been followed home from shoot locations only to be held up at gunpoint for their equipment....

    As someone that puts Airtags in with all his camera equipment when he travels I have to say that I probably wouldn't be tweeting about it and hear me out.

    I live in California and the looting of photographers/videographers has gotten really out of hand in big cities like LA, SF and Oakland, so much so that individuals have been followed home from shoot locations only to be held up at gunpoint for their equipment. Not exactly a safe situation, but maybe it's just a California problem where crime laws have been lax over the last decade or so.

    Is it good publicity for Airtags, sure. But it could have ended much worse had this reporter showed up to the robbers house and had a gun pointed back at them. You don't know what's going on between the ears of some people out there...

    1. Foo blah Guest

      “Crime laws” are lax all of a sudden?
      Seems unlikely, as does your story.

    2. Jimmy’s Travel Report Diamond

      Poster said for the last decade - not all of a sudden. ???

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Steven Guest

As someone that puts Airtags in with all his camera equipment when he travels I have to say that I probably wouldn't be tweeting about it and hear me out. I live in California and the looting of photographers/videographers has gotten really out of hand in big cities like LA, SF and Oakland, so much so that individuals have been followed home from shoot locations only to be held up at gunpoint for their equipment. Not exactly a safe situation, but maybe it's just a California problem where crime laws have been lax over the last decade or so. Is it good publicity for Airtags, sure. But it could have ended much worse had this reporter showed up to the robbers house and had a gun pointed back at them. You don't know what's going on between the ears of some people out there...

3
Andy Diamond

I had the same thought. If I can see my bag is off airport premises, in a private residence, I would probably also first contact the policy and leave both restitution and investigation to them.

2
riku Guest

Did he not think of contacting the police to help with this stolen goods situation? Since I don't live in the USA it might be possible that the police play a different role in society compared to elsewhere though.

2
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