Couple robbed at airport security screening

A wallet with $800 cash was stolen during the security check at Brisbane Airport. Photo / iStock
A wallet with $800 cash was stolen during the security check at Brisbane Airport. Photo / iStock

It is a scenario many of us imagine with dread when going through airport security - handing over your valuables for screening and not getting them back.

And for this Brisbane couple, that was exactly the nightmare start to their long-awaited holiday abroad.

Seasoned travellers Graeme and Helen Page were going through security screening at Brisbane airport on Tuesday, preparing for a trip to France, when Mr Page's wallet containing bank cards and $800 in cash went missing.

And they believe it was stolen by an opportunistic fellow passenger who snatched the wallet and walked away, right under the nose of airport security.

The couple's daughter Caroline Page told news.com.au her father was asked to remove some items from his body, including his belt, as is routine after the metal detector gate buzzed during his first attempt to walk through it.

"Dad said he was also required to take off the wallet attached to the belt and put it through the scanner separately," Ms Page said.

"When he went back to pick up his wallet, it was gone. He'd put it in one of those scanning trays.

"It was rather ironic that they'd gone through the process of getting the extra-safe wallets and carry bags for their trip, to be robbed in Brisbane.

"And I suppose it's one of those things that you think you're safer at home, but you're not, really."

The couple quickly notified Australian Federal Police and were told CCTV cameras had captured the incident, Ms Page said.

About an hour later, Queensland police arrested a man at Mt Isa after he got off a flight from Brisbane.

A spokesman for Queensland police told news.com.au officers found the wallet in the 44-year-old Brisbane man's possession. He was charged with one count of stealing and will face Mt Isa Magistrates Court next month.

Ms Page and her parents praised the quick work of police, with the help of Qantas, to recover the valuable wallet.

"I think what happened is they (AFP) were able to identify the thief on screen, track him to what gate he went to and worked with Qantas from there," Ms Page said.

"Mum had cards with her attached to the same bank account and because the federal police acted so quickly they didn't have to cancel any of them. Dad was pretty impressed.

"Obviously there's nothing worse than going on holiday and having to cancel your cards. And the stress that occurs is not much fun to deal with."

Most airports require passengers to remove wallets, keys and other items from their clothing for x-ray screening before they step through the metal detector.

Passengers are usually also asked to remove laptops and similar items from carry-on bags so x-ray technicians have an unobstructed view of what's inside.

Despite the obvious heavy presence of security at security screening, Ms Page said her parents' ordeal went to show how easy it was for those valuables to be stolen.

"From our perspective, we see it as a warning to other travellers to keep a close eye on your essential gear," she said.

"The number of times you go through security gates and pull your computer out of its bag, and pull whatever bits and pieces out of your pocket, and put them in the tray - I've even thought myself how easy it would be to pick up the wrong computer without thinking. You're often busy and not exactly thinking about what you're picking up and putting down.

"And this bloke made use of it, but he obviously wasn't that bright, given the level of security. I suppose he thought he'd managed to get clear.

"There's so much security that it doesn't really cross your mind to (steal from other passengers) to start with and it's a pretty cheeky move - but obviously not a clever one."

news.com.au has contacted the Office of Transport Security for comment.

- news.com.au

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