There has been much buzz about the Air Antilles “toilet thief” lately, so I am breaking down and finally posting the article. The thief, who was on a Caribbean flight going from Guadeloupe to Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, got to the cash through the airplane bathroom panels to get to the cargo compartment.
A Brink’s security employee placed three sacks of cash containing a total of 1.2 million euros (1.68 million U.S. dollars) in the cargo hold of the Air Antilles plane before it headed from the French island of Guadeloupe to the Franco-Dutch island of Saint Martin, police told the Agence France-Presse yesterday [March 3, 2011]. When the flight landed 40 minutes later, the security guard discovered that 172,000 euros (238,000 dollars) was missing from the sacks.
Police are now searching for a man who complained he felt ill and spent most of the journey on the ATR-42 turboprop plane in the bathroom. It appears he must have been removing panels to gain access to the cargo hold in the rear of the plane.
The unnamed man was traveling with a woman who appeared concerned about his health. Witnesses say that shortly before landing the man asked a flight attendant for an ambulance to meet him on the tarmac. But according to police, when the ambulance arrived the man said he felt better and walked out of the airport, bypassing normal security checks. The man’s traveling companion was questioned in the baggage arrival hall, but did not have any of the missing money.