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Airport TRAX attracts new type of rider: baggage thieves

Published April 26, 2013 5:53 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The convenience of the new airport TRAX line is proving popular with the public but also, apparently, with baggage thieves.

After the new TRAX line opened officially on April 14, "there was a string of thefts from the bag claim," says Salt Lake City International Airport spokeswoman Barbara Gann.

"It's a phenomenon that's happened in other airports" when mass transit opened there, Gann said, as thieves use the train to make quick escapes.

One man arrested on April 19 is suspected of stealing four bags. Gann said police found he was using TRAX to and from the airport. Another man was arrested Thursday night, and is suspected of stealing six bags.

"We have stepped up security in that area. We're working with UTA [Utah Transit Authority] along with airport police," Gann said. "We're placing signage that says people may be asked to share their [airline] tickets [to match with checked bagged tags], their identity and positively identify their bag. It's not happening to everybody, but it is happening randomly."

Gann added, "This is a good opportunity to remind people to claim their bags promptly, and also not to put their valuables in their checked baggage," but to carry them onboard instead.

UTA released preliminary data earlier this week showing ridership on the new airport line has been a bit higher than planners had projected.

It had 4,800 average weekday boardings during its first business week of operation. That was better than the 4,600 average weekday boardings that UTA had projected.

The new six-mile airport extension runs between the EnergySolutions Arena Station to the airport as part of the Green Line from West Valley City.

The $350 million line includes five new stations along North Temple, plus a new station at the airport.