(NaturalNews) A major security loophole at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia is putting air travelers at serious risk of having their luggage stolen by calculating thieves. According to a thorough investigation conducted by 11alive.com in Atlanta, the airport's Delta South terminal is severely lacking in proper security oversight, which has already caused a string of baggage thefts that Delta Airlines appears to be whitewashing as if they were merely "lost" luggage incidents.
The security breach was brought to the attention of the network after Jacob Giannantonio of San Antonio, Texas, called the station to report that his luggage had been stolen from the South terminal on August 19. Even though both the North and South terminals are regularly patrolled by Atlanta police, the South terminal lacks the added layer of security that other airlines operating out of the North terminal have hired privately to ensure the safety of passengers' luggage.
Delta, on the other hand, reportedly has not hired an added layer of security at the South terminal, even though the airline is among many other major airlines that now charges travelers' extra fees to stow luggage. For Giannantonio, he was eventually reimbursed $3,300 for his stolen bags, and the suspect who walked off with the bags identified. But Giannantonio is disappointed with the overall lack of security in the South terminal, which is particularly prone to thefts.
"There's embarrassment here for Delta and there's embarrassment here for Atlanta Airport Authority," said Lawton Roberts, a travel consultant, to 11alive.com about the security breach. "I think Delta should step up to the plate now and realize they're getting billions for baggage fees. They now have the responsibility to protect the security of their passengers' luggage -- after all, the passenger did pay extra for them to do that."
The theft of Giannantonio's luggage is hardly an isolated incident, as there have been numerous baggage thefts from the South terminal in recent years. According to local law enforcement, there have already been eight arrests and 28 complaints associated with stolen luggage. And every single known incident of theft has taken place in Delta's South terminal.
To make matters worse, an 11alive.com viewer tipped the station off to a "graveyard" of looted luggage in a field across from the airport. All six of the identified bags, according to a followup report, came from Delta flights that had arrived over the previous weekend. In response to the two 11alive.com reports, Delta issued a canned response that ultimately failed to address the ongoing problem at its hub airport.