After luggage theft, will PDX change security measures?

After luggage theft, will PDX change security measures?

PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland International Airport is likely to keep the luggage security measures it has even after six people, including two children, were caught stealing luggage from the airport over the weekend.

At PDX, picking up your bags at the carousel operates on the honor system, which is not much different than anywhere else in the country.

"Some places do have the bag-checking system (but) many, many airports in the U.S. do not," said PDX spokesman Steve Johnson. "Collectively, the airlines here have said we're not going to operate it that way here. But there are many other security measures in place."

Those measures include cameras and security officers.

Passengers like Pat Williams has a security measure of her own – a purple bag with a big yellow happy face on it – after someone took her plain black bag.

"(So I) painted a great big yellow circle and black eyes and a mouth on both sides. So if I see anybody going out with a "happy face," I'm going to tackle 'em," she said.

Airport officials say that's the best thing you can do – not the tackling part – but making your bag stand out and easy to identify.

It usually takes between 15 and 20 minutes for your bag to go from plane to pick-up and most passengers make it there before the bags do.

But at what point are you responsible for your bag when it comes through that little door and onto the carousel?

"I don't know," Johnson said. "I would just be guessing. You're talking about a more legal issue of responsibility, and I don't know what the answer is to that."

Luggage thefts at PDX average out to about a dozen a month, which is out of millions of passengers. So the ratio is pretty low. But airport officials say it's about perspective: If your bag was stolen, that's one too many.

Two people who were accused of the weekend thefts were in court Monday. They were released – for now – because the district attorney's office said the complaint against them wasn't complete. They may face charges later.

The two other adults will be in court Tuesday morning.