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Spirit Airlines pays off victim after Apple Watch proves her luggage was stolen

An Apple Watch Find My alert like this one led Garcia to her stolen luggage

A woman in Fort Lauderdale believed her Spirit Airlines luggage was lost forever, until her Apple Watch notified her that the MacBook Pro in it was now in a nearby house.

Usually it's an AirTag that alerts travellers to lost and stolen luggage, and it's possible that's what happened here, too. What's sure is that Spirit Airlines has joined the ranks of aviation firms lying about lost luggage.

According to Florida's Local10 News, traveller Paola Garcia originally waited for two hours at Carousel 4 inside Terminal 4 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Ordinarily, she says, she carries on her pink hard-shell suitcase, but this time had been ordered to check it — and then it vanished.

It's not clear when this happened, nor is it fully known what the case contained. However, it certainly had a MacBook Pro, an iPad, jewelry, designer clothes and for some reason two Apple Watches.

While Spirit Airlines employees insisted the luggage would be sent directly to her house, the next day she got an alert on a third Apple Watch. It was most likely a Find My alert, saying that her MacBook Pro or iPad had been left behind, and were last seen at a particular address.

That address was a residence near Garcia, and she decided to go to it.

"Yes," she told Local 10, "because I said how can Spirit deliver my suitcase there? [And] because I needed my computer... I have test that day."

Arriving at the house, she saw suitcases littered around it, so she called the police. "The first thing the police told me was like, 'What are you doing here? This is so dangerous for you to be here."

Person in an office setting wrapping an object in plastic. A cluttered round table with chairs, paper rolls, and office supplies are nearby.
Security footage of Bazile with Garcia's pink suitcase (Source: via Local 10 News, Florida)

An investigation by a Broward Sheriff's Office detective determined that 29-year-old Junior Bazile who lived there, worked at the airport and was on shift when the incident happened. Security camera footage at the airport showed Bazile going through Garcia's suitcase and removing items.

It's unclear from the report just what the sequence of events was between Garcia's alert and Bazile being arrested. However, by the time he was taken into custody, he had reportedly disposed of most of her items.

Bazile has been charged with grand theft. Spirit Airlines later made a statement saying that it has refunded Garcia for the items, but also denied any responsibility.

"We issued a reimbursement check to the guest as a courtesy, even though we are not currently aware of any evidence that any Spirit employee was involved," said an airline spokesperson. "We take any allegation of this nature seriously, and we are investigating."

Garcia says she does not believe that Bazile acted alone.

"Personally, I don't think it's one person working in the airport, I think it's a group," she said. "One person can't just do that, take bags."

Separately, Florida was also recently the scene of a crash in which a cyclist was hit by a car whose driver then fled the scene. But one of the cyclist's AirPods had been knocked off into the SUV, and again it was Apple's Find My that led authorities to an arrest.