Sky Harbor Luggage Thief Sentenced to More Than a Decade in Prison

Keith King, the less-than-better half of a marriage built on stolen luggage, was sentenced to some pretty lengthy prison time during a hearing in a Maricopa County courtroom this morning.

King, whose wife, Stacy King, was already sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for her role in the massive theft operation, was sentenced to 10.5 years in prison by Judge Paul McMurdie. He was also ordered to pay more than $83,000 in restitution.

The Kings' theft operation was discovered last year, after cops noticed Keith King snatchin' bags at Sky Harbor Airport.

Police raided the Kings' house and uncovered about 1,000 pieces of luggage, stacked floor to ceiling. Police believe many of the items taken from the luggage were sold at garage sales.

Keith King pled guilty to two counts of burglary, one count of theft, one count of drug possession and one count of trafficking stolen property in September.

Police arrested Keith King after watching him take luggage from the baggage claim area at the airport. He was arrested and issued a misdemeanor citation for theft. A few days later, he was at it again. Surveillance video showed King in a parking garage before he went into the airport to steal more bags.

The thefts prompted the airport to review it's baggage claim procedures

"We're looking at our options -- we're working with police, and looking at procedures that other airports are doing to prevent luggage theft," Sky Harbor spokeswoman Julie Rodriguez tells New Times at the time of the thefts.

Rodriguez says a procedure that was used in the past, where passengers had to match their tickets to their bags upon leaving the airport, was abandoned shortly after 9/11 because it was too expensive to operate.

The matching system, according to Rodriguez, was run at the expense of the airlines, which collaboratively paid for operations. After 9/11, airlines were forced to divert money from protecting baggage to fund counter-terrorism measures.

Rodriguez says the matching system is definitely an option but not necessarily the solution.

"Most other airports aren't using a matching system," she says. "We're not ruling it out, but there are a lot of measures that we take that people don't see that have worked in the past."

Rodriguez says currently there are police officers and camera systems that are constantly monitoring the baggage-claim areas at the airport.

Those measures were actually how the two were caught -- eventually.

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James King
Contact: James King

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