Passengers call for change at YVR after man arrested for stealing luggage
Published Saturday, September 30, 2017 3:31PM PDT
A woman whose luggage was stolen from the baggage carousel at YVR is calling on the Vancouver airport to change the way it sets up the arrivals section, saying the open-concept design allows thieves to access bags easily.
Last week, a 46-year-old man was arrested in connection with several reports of stolen bags from the international arrivals carousel. Debbie Parhar says she's not surprised. Her luggage was stolen earlier this year—and the crime was caught on a YVR security camera.
"Clearly there is some kind of operation going on if this person [who was arrested last week] is going back four times in one month… this is something that is easy to access," she told CTV News.
Parhar's luggage was stolen in January when she was flying back to Vancouver from Edmonton. Parhar was offered a seat on an earlier flight, but her bag flew back on the original flight. The airline said it would deliver it to her door that evening.
But when the bag didn't arrive, Parhar contacted YVR and police were able to look at security footage.
"Sure enough, my lone bag was going round and round on the carousel," she said. "They watched a woman with white blonde hair and a pink streak take my bag off the carousel and onto the Canada Line, never to be seen again."
The arrivals section at YVR has waist-high half walls with periodic openings that separate the baggage carousels from the area where friends and family can wait for arriving passengers.
There are signs posted that tell the public not to cross into the baggage claim area, but in practice anyone can walk in.
YVR management said there wasn't anyone available to do an on-camera interview with CTV, but said in a statement that the airport has "multiple layers of security in place… to ensure safe operations."
Parhar says that in a meeting she had with a YVR representative about her lost luggage, they said the open concept is common in domestic arrivals in Canada and that it balances security with families who may want to greet each other and help carry luggage.
Some passengers CTV spoke to at YVR said they liked the open concept because it allowed them to exit the airport quickly.
But Parhar thinks last week's luggage thief arrest should be a wakeup call for the airport. She thinks they should implement a more secure design, perhaps using glass partitions, so the public can't enter the baggage claim area.
"You have [a thief] who can obviously do it again and again and again. It's a problem. And people know it's a problem," she said.
Parhar also thanks airlines who could be on the hook to compensate customers for lost luggage should pressure YVR as well.
As for her own lost luggage, it took until March to get compensated for it. Air Canada offered her $1,500.
Still, Parhar doesn't want luggage theft happening to anyone else at YVR.
"I know how these people feel. You're not getting it back and you're not getting compensated 100 per cent for what you lost," she said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson.