Upon returning to his home in Orlando, Florida yesterday, Azaad Ali was surprised that over $800,000 in gold jewellery was missing from his luggage.
He told Stabroek News that he remembered suspicious activity being exhibited by persons manning the Timehri airport scanner when one of his checked bags had passed through. “They must have passed it back and forth a couple times and were pointing, then looking at me…but they didn’t open the bag in my presence,” Ali told Stabroek News yesterday.
When Stabroek News made contact with the Chief Executive Officer of CJIA, Ramesh Ghir it was told that an investigation would be conducted immediately. Ghir noted that he was not aware of the situation but that all instances of complaints needed to be investigated. Security cameras at the airport are supposed to be in place to detect theft.
Ali noted that the behaviour of the security technicians seemed odd, but he brushed it off as they didn’t speak with him about opening his bag.
Ali along with his wife and two children boarded the Suriname Airways plane flight number PY421 on July 16th at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri. It was not until yesterday the family realised they were robbed.
“The jewellery was inside a makeup bag that was in another bag in the suitcase,” Ali explained.
He continued that when the luggage was opened and his wife went to empty the contents that was when she noticed the smaller bag was open and the remaining contents spilling into the larger bag.
He said that “it was tampered with because the jewellery was in a small makeup bag and when I looked it was unzipped.”
Ali told Stabroek News that the only time the bag was left unattended was when it was at the scanner at CJIA and that when he saw that the jewellery was missing he was immediately reminded of the odd behaviour exhibited by the three security technicians. He said that he spent hours trying to contact management at the CJIA, “every number I could find online I called and was given the run-around all day, I even called back Suriname Airways, but no one could give me the manager’s information.”
Ali said that three cricket bands, four rings, two necklaces and a watch are among the missing items. He recalled that as a safety precaution his wife decided to pack the jewellery in luggage to be checked. “We wanted to just put it away, because you hear about crime on the way from the airport and then to the airport we were being cautious,” Ali told this publication.