A Texas couple says $15,000 in jewelry disappeared from their bags after traveling through the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport.
"My wife is devastated," Sundip Patel said Thursday via Skype.
He says the way he views airport security and TSA screeners is changed forever.
"It's basically put me in a situation where I have zero trust in checking a bag, ensuring everything gets to destination," he said.
He and his wife flew out of Birmingham Tuesday morning on American Airlines flight 1111. They checked two bags, one of which contained a box full of fine jewelry. When the returned home to Dallas, his says his wife panicked after discovering the box was gone.
Patel says there were 13 items inside, including his wife's custom-made engagement ring and wedding band.
"Part of the reason she's not able to do this interview is everytime she thinks about it she starts crying, lots of expensive jewelry she 's accounted over several years," he said.
The couple filed a report with the Birmingham Police Department and TSA officials are working with police in the investigation. Patel also filed a complaint with American Airlines. In a statement a spokesperson says, "situations like this happen occasionally, certainly not frequently. The hard part in these situations is finding who did the actual theft. Not only our people touch these bags, but depending on the itinerary, TSA employees, other airline employees and third party contractors...We first have to make a determination that the theft actually occurred."
Patel says there's no mistake his wife's jewelry was stolen and he's afraid that by now it's all been pawned for cash. He hopes their situation will make other travelers more aware.
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