On February 19th, Keyonne Brooks was traveling home to Los Angeles from New Orleans, after attending his uncle’s funeral.
Brooks recalls having a heated discussion with the gate agent regarding a gate check of his larger bag. The woman at the gate told him he would have to reschedule his flight home if he did a gate check. Brooks said that, based on his experience with the airline in the past, that was misinformation.
To resolve the conflict, Brooks paid the extra fee for his suitcase and asked for a manager to come to speak with him. Between going back and forth with the agent and manager, and then quickly boarding, he wound up leaving his personal bag on the ledge of the ticket counter.
It wasn’t until his Spirit Air Lines plane had taken off from MSY that he realized he had left his backpack behind.
Brooks, an actor, producer and assistant director, quickly submitted a lost-and-found claim with the airline, but his bag wasn’t found. His next step was to file a public records request for the airport footage. What he eventually got back was very disturbing, so he posted it on YouTube.
“I was appalled,” said Brooks. “My heart just sunk.”
As you can see from the footage above, one of the gate agents found the backpack and put it behind the counter while the plane was still loading. Instead of following protocol and notifying police to inspect the bag, she waited until the plane had left, then opened it to see what was inside. With other agents right next to her, she rifled through Brooks’ bag, taking things out one by one, throwing most into the trash, but pocking some of them (Brooks says some of those items were keys, a family heirloom he obtained after his uncle’s funeral, and life-saving medication). One of her colleagues appeared to film some of the action, while everyone involved appeared to have a good laugh over the whole thing. The gate agent completed the job by dumping the small bag in the trash, and casually walking away.
Brooks said, as he looked at the surveillance footage, he couldn’t believe what he saw. He eventually stopped watching.
“There were my house keys, my car keys. When I got back to L.A., I could not get into my home right away. I was not even able to start my car. Everything was halted until I paid locksmiths,” Brooks said.
Brooks contacted Spirit Airlines and forwarded the video to them. The airline released a statement:
“We are aware of this matter, and our vendor suspended four of their employees at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport pending an investigation into the matter.
Spirit Airlines is committed to treating all guests with respect and delivering high-quality service, and we will take appropriate action as necessary following the completion of the vendor’s investigation.
Spirit has already issued a refund for the flight on February 23, and the vendor is expediting the compensation for the items.”
That would usually be the last you’d hear about a case like that. But wait, there’s more!
A spokesperson from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Capt. Jason Rivarde, said that after officials watched Brooks’ video, an arrest warrant was made for the detainment of four individuals captured on the surveillance video.
Two of the four gate agents – Willie Stovall III, 31, and Ebone Baker, 22, were brought in on felony theft charges on Friday, March 17, according to NOLA.com. Baker was released on a $5,000 bond from jail the same day she was arrested. However the judge determined that Stovall would be held without bond.
Antoinaija Beasley, 22, and Alshea Mitchell, 30, will face the same charges once apprehended.
“We’re pleased that two of the people have been apprehended, and hopefully, the other two will be, shortly,” said Warren McKenna III, the attorney representing Brooks.
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LOL. Theft isn’t a punishable crime in any major US city anymore. Charges will all be dismissed. Everything is just for show.
@RJB, they may be dismissed which I hope it doesn’t. They deserve whatever they get!
This is so sad on soo many levels 😢 it cost absolutely nothing to be kind and if you think about how you would feel if this happened to you or your loved one perhaps you’d be more compassionate
This so sad and disrespectful in time like what was happening in family at that time.his articles can’t be relpaced.he can never ever get them back I think he should be compensated and that still want stop the hurt done to him . Personally I think they should be fired.get real test of the hurt they coast and the should be ordered to pay it out of their pockets