American Eagle Employee Arrested With Stolen Jewelry: Police

Baggage handler pawned 94 items in last year, police say

By Scott Gordon
|  Tuesday, Aug 30, 2011  |  Updated 12:11 AM CDT
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An American Eagle baggage handler allegedly stole jewelry from passengers' luggage.

Scott Gordon, NBCDFW.com

An American Eagle baggage handler allegedly stole jewelry from passengers' luggage.

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Airline Employee Accused of Stealing From Suitcases

An American Eagle employee allegedly stole more than $10,000 worth of property from travelers at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
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An American Eagle baggage handler at Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport was arrested on Friday with jewelry stolen from passengers' luggage hidden in his backpack, police said.

Jose Alberto Peralta, 45, has pawned 94 items over the past 12 months for a total of $10,320, according to a police investigation.

Peralta was charged with providing a false date of birth to obtain an airport security badge that allowed him to access secure areas.

The investigation into the stolen property is expected to result in additional charges, said DFW Airport spokesman David Magana.

Investigators confronted Peralta on the job Friday and found several pieces of jewelry in his backpack, "including a silver women's bracelet, silver women's earrings, silver 'Hard Rock' women's bracelet, a gold heart-shaped diamond pendant and a pair of new Oakley Whisker sunglasses," the police report said.

"When asked about the jewelry items, Mr. Peralta stared at the floor and hesitated for 20-30 seconds before answering," the report said. "He then advised they were his items."

Asked by an investigator why he would have women's jewelry, he "looked down and said, 'I don't want to talk about it anymore,'" the report said.

Later, under questioning at the airport police station, Peralta admitted he had taken the gold heart-shaped diamond pendant from an aircraft and "was going to turn it in but forgot," the report said.

Peralta, of the Dominican Republic, is charged with tampering with a governmental record, a misdemeanor. He knowingly provided the wrong date of birth on a security form, police said.

Reached on his cellphone Monday, Peralta declined to comment.

"My lawyer told me I don't have to say anything," he said.

A spokesman for American Eagle declined to comment.

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