Video shows airport worker steal from woman in wheelchair, police say


CLEVELAND (WJW)– Video released to the FOX 8 I-Team shows how police say a worker at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport stole money from senior citizens in wheelchairs.

We’ve uncovered new developments in the cases. We first revealed the investigation weeks ago and now the new video sheds new light on big money taken from travelers as well as the bust.

Police said they believe the same worker ripped off two senior citizen travelers.

Airport security video shows the worker taking a passenger through the terminal in a wheelchair. Then, while on the concourse, you see the worker put the passenger’s purse behind the wheelchair. Ultimately, the traveler is wheeled out to a shuttle bus. Police said the worker stole hundreds of dollars just before helping the passenger get on the bus.

On Friday, we caught up with one of the victims, Patricia Baumer, by phone. She spoke to us from out of state, saying, she realized after she left the airport that she’d had money stolen.

“I didn’t have a penny to my name,” Baumer said. “I did hand over my backpack and my purse. So, they were behind me and not in my sight. I would encourage everybody else to be mindful. Keep your eyes on your possessions.”

The I-Team requested the security video so that you could see how the crimes happened. We also requested police body camera video. It shows officers confronting the worker once they suspected her of stealing from seniors.

At one point she asked an officer, “Take me to jail? For what?”

Police told her they had video evidence of her stealing money. A police report refers to video of the worker walking through a section of the airport counting money she’d stolen.

During questioning, an officer can be heard saying, “If that money appears right now, you won’t go to jail. You’re gonna lose your job. Where’s it at?”

The woman then asks a little later, “How much is it supposed to be?”

An officer answers, “500.”

We heard police on the video threatening to take that airport worker to jail. But, we just checked and weeks later, no charges have been filed. We reported earlier police told the victims if they wanted charges, they would have to file a complaint themselves with the city prosecutor. One victim told us she is talking to the prosecutor about charges. But, not Baumer.

She said she hopes this is enough for that worker to learn a lesson.

“Keep your belongings where you are and remain responsible for them. And, take nothing for granted,” Baumer said.

The suspect worked for a private company at the airport and lost her job. We did not identify her since she has not been hit with charges. Police said they consider the crimes misdemeanors, petty theft. Similar to pick-pocketing.

So, they said it is standard in these kinds of cases to have victims deal directly with the prosecutor.

We’ll let you know if one of these cases results in charges.

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