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Miami airport workers indicted for luggage thefts

Authorities take ramp workers into custody at Miami International Airport on Wednesday.
Authorities take ramp workers into custody at Miami International Airport on Wednesday.

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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- A federal grand jury has indicted six Miami airport workers on charges of stealing items from the checked luggage of British Airways passengers, federal officials announced Wednesday.

The indictment says the six men, who were ramp agents for a private company that did work at Miami International Airport, conspired in September to steal more than $1,000 in items from passengers' bags. If convicted of conspiracy, the defendants could be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

In working for the company, Aircraft Services International Group, the six men were assigned to load and unload luggage from British Airways flights.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida said the men worked in groups, with some watching the ramp area to make sure no one else was around while others stole items from the bags inside the plane's cargo hold. They used a "Leatherman tool" -- a large pocketknife with numerous blades and clippers -- to break open the zippers of luggage, the attorney's office said.

Details on how investigators cracked the case were not released, and officials with the attorney's office were not available for comment Wednesday afternoon.

The Miami-Dade Police Department investigated the case with the U.S. Customs Service and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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