A Southwest Airlines passenger who had her laptop stolen after checking it with baggage claim was able to recover her computer after finding it being sold on Craigslist, the online classifieds service.
Ambre Boroughs was scheduled to leave a Southwest Airlines flight from Chicago, to Charleston, SC. She decided to check her laptop computer bag with baggage claim since the service is free with the airline.
When she finally arrived to her destination, she realized that her laptop bag was missing from the baggage carousel when she went to claim it.
After realizing that her bag had likely been stolen, she immediately sought the help of a Southwest Airlines employee. Boroughs said to NBC Chicago about her experience with the employee:
"She immediately told me Southwest was not responsible for checked computers and she wanted to know why I had checked my computer, which was a real clincher."
Southwest Airlines also does not routinely take theft reports unless a passenger chooses to file one.
Later that evening after Boroughs returned home, she had a gut feeling that her stolen laptop was perhaps featured on Craigslist for sale.
The Consumerist reports that Boroughs was able to locate her laptop on Craigslist. A picture she found on the site showed a laptop with a distinctive sticker on it. Boroughs had placed a sticker on her laptop to match a logo tattoo on her wrist of an obscure South Carolina band.
Boroughs contacted Chicago police who posed as undercover agents and went to the suspect's home located less than a mile from Chicago Midway Airport. They were able to arrest the suspect and seize nearly two dozen electronic goods at the home which are thought to have been stolen, including Boroughs' laptop. The suspect is not a Southwest Airlines employee.
It is uncertain how exactly the suspect was able to attain the stolen goods. TSA surveillance video shows that Boroughs' laptop bag made it through security and was then given back to Southwest Airlines.
The airline claims that its policies are in line with other airlines' procedures.
No word yet if Boroughs will receive any compensation for her troubles.
This is not the first time that Craigslist has been useful in tracking down stolen goods.
Within the last six months, detectives in Portland, OR were able to help around 100 victims retrieve their stolen items. One victim was even able to get back their stolen motorcycle.
In Rhode Island, two men were arrested for trying to sell nearly $87,000 worth of stolen property on the site.
Authorities in Daly City, CA discovered that items stolen from local Home Depot stores were being sold on Craigslist as part of a large theft ring.