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    17 Charleroi airport employees prosecuted for theft

    Seventeen members of staff working in shops at Brussels South Charleroi Airport (BSCA) appeared before the Charleroi Criminal Court on Monday. They are suspected of having stolen 30,000 euros a month over a 2-year stretch. The majority of the defendants deny the allegations.  An investigation was launched when other BSCA employees raised concerns. Phones were tapped and this resulted in 21 people, all store staff at the airport, being indicted.17 of them were brought before the criminal court on Monday. They mainly worked at the terminal’s Horeca boutiques and are suspected of having stolen both goods and money.

    The investigation brought to light several different modus operandi. Some of the suspects left the cash register open between sales, and destroyed the receipts so they could pocket the cash. Undercover police were able to witness the theft when ordering a sandwich in one of the stores. The investigators also uncovered that some defendants had recently been on exotic holidays, bought a new car, or had a new kitchen installed. The Public Prosecutor’s current assessment of the damage stands at 30,000 euros per month over the course of 2 years. The BSCA and the subcontractor Elior, which manages the airport’s boutiques, have filed a civil law suit.

    In court, most of the defendants denied the charges, some even retracted their confessions, claiming the police pressured them into the confessions. Several of them explained that they would offer taxi drivers and airport police a complimentary coffee, and get a tip in return. The defendants who admitted to the charges, however, confirmed their statements. The Public Prosecutor’s office and the civil parties are to take the floor next Monday.

    Christopher Vincent (Source: Belga)