Police sorting luggage allegedly stolen by couple

AP News
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Posted: Nov 06, 2009 8:42 AM

Locked safes, medical equipment and clothing piled from floor to ceiling were among the hoards of personal belongings sorted by police on Thursday after a couple was arrested on charges they stole luggage from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Clothing from nearly 1,000 stolen bags took up entire rooms at the couple's home in Waddell, where police served a search warrant Tuesday. Police also uncovered about 25 guns at the residence, although it was unclear if the weapons were stolen from the luggage, said Sgt. Giogi Chiampo.

Keith King, 61, remained held Thursday in a Maricopa County jail on a $25,000 bond. His wife, Stacy Lynne Legg-King, 38, posted bond and was released from jail, according to police.

The couple was arrested Monday at their home about 20 miles northwest of Phoenix and were booked on suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen property. The arrests were part of an ongoing airport burglary operation.

Police said surveillance video showed Keith King parking in an airport garage and walking to the baggage-claim area to steal luggage. They said the two had been taking luggage from the airport over a period of a year or more.

Neighbors also reported seeing a trailer full of material arriving to the home in the middle of the night, which they described as suspicious. One told detectives that the couple frequently held garage sales to sell a variety of merchandise, including luggage.

Detectives are trying to track missing items, which include electronics like laptops, video games and cameras. Other items recovered at the Kings' home included GPS devices.

Chiampo said detectives were in touch with some victims of the Sky Harbor heists, but that returning stolen items to victims would be difficult because the bags had been stripped of identifying information.

"A lot of the baggage is very similar in nature," she said. "The likelihood of matching everything we have is at this point slim. Most of what we have is empty luggage."

Airport officials said they will discuss security measures, such as reinstituting routine baggage-claim checks to ensure bags are picked up by the correct passengers. Checks were eliminated several years ago to cut costs.

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Information from: The Arizona Republic.