A middle-aged male passenger was Thursday arrested on an Abuja-bound Aero Contractors Airline flight from Lagos.
The suspect allegedly stole N100,000 and an ATM card belonging to a female passenger who is a staff of a major bank.
According to an eyewitness account, the suspect who was on Seat 19E, noticed that the female passenger had a similar bag as his, so he went and placed his bag beside the woman’s in the overhead locker, as the boarded passengers were identifying their seats and settling down for the flight.
The woman who was on Seat 16F had after putting her bag in the overhead locker, opened it to take out some money before going to her seat.
The suspect, who witnessed this, went to place his bag beside the woman’s and later carried the woman’s bag instead of his own and went to his seat.
All this was observed by a member of the cabin crew who did not raise the alarm but waited for the suspect to complete what he intended to do.
The suspect opened the woman’s bag and after taking out the money, returned the bag to the overhead locker and that was when the young female cabin crew member confronted him and wanted to know whether it was his bag that he took from the overhead locker.
He said it was his bag and expressed anger at the embarrassing question.
The passengers wanted to interfere and defended the man who has a limp but the crew member asked the them to steer clear of the incident.
The crew member then called out the owner of the bag that the suspect took away and she came and was asked if she had anything missing from her bag, she searched it and said she could not find her N100,000 and her ATM card.
But the suspect continued to deny and later directed the cabin crew to where the money was inside the overhead locker.
The pilot of the flight was said to have called on the aviation security officials who came into the aircraft and arrested the man along with the women whose money was stolen.
The two passengers were de-boarded and the checked in luggage belonging to the suspect removed from the aircraft.
This incident caused a 30-minute delay as the flight scheduled for 7a.m, left at 7.30a.m.
According to a cabin crew member, pilfering in flights had been on the rise since last year; although the illicit act has been going on for a long time.
The cabin crew official cautioned passengers against putting money in their luggage, adding that even if they keep money in their luggage they must be observant till the end of the flight.