“You Have My Shirt On!” Man Confronts Luggage Thief In Atlanta Airport

Jameel Reid flew from Los Angeles to Atlanta and waited for his luggage at baggage claim. Atlanta residents aren’t used to waiting half an hour for bags – Delta offers a 20 minute guarantee – so after 30 minutes he pulled out this phone and tracked the location of the missing bag which he’d left an Apple Airtag in. The bag was already outside the airport.

Two days later he saw his bag’s airtag location returned to the airport, so he went back himself and contacted airport police. Together they used the tracking on his iPhone to find the bag and suspect. Upon seeing the luggage and the perpretrator, the passenger decleared “You have my shirt on… that’s insane. My shirt and my jeans.” The man was also wearing his socks and his shoes, and had placed a bottle of alcohol in the bag.

When I first saw the story it seemed like another ‘Airtags save the day with lost luggage‘ meets ‘luggage thief‘ although this time not involving with protecting federal nuclear stockpiles. But it’s darker than that.

None of the coverage I’ve seen mentions that the luggage thief is homeless. I tracked down the theft victim’s original cell phone video of the incident where he and police confronted the man with his bags.

The man was found sleeping in a corner of the airport with bags. He’s wearing the luggage owner’s shirt, jeans, socks and shoes because they’re fresh clothes. And he had someone else’s bag as well – so this wasn’t his first theft.

@reidgocrazy It started Monday morning after I got off my plane i go to pick up my checked in bag from delta on the carousel, didn't see it then, i check my airtag map and see its at grady hospital so in my mind im confused like why is it here, must be a mistake but it was accurate filed claim with delta and police and left to go back home. so then i take a nap woke up and seen it moved back to the airport. So in my mind im thinking ok someone must've brought it back or something then i go back to airport to see if its there and its 5 in the afternoon i check and its still not there so i go home again thinking ok imma give em the benefit of the doubt and let em find it. I go to sleep with peace in my mind woke up, seen the location had moved this time at the GICC Station. I got outta bed fast as life didn't brush teeth or put on deodorant then i park my car walk down to the station took the elevator up to the 2nd floor and i smelled my cologne and knew i was in the right place. It took alot in me not to put hands on dude but i kept my cool called the police and the rest was history. If yall need a private investigator dm was not finna go out like dat. #fyp #foryoupage #viral #memes #atl #thief #xyzbca ♬ Lethal – Reidgocrazy

In most cases I tend to think that putting a tag on your bag that says there’s an Airtag inside is as good as actually having one for deterring thieves, although in this case that may not have worked. I’d have had a hard time pressing charges against the thief and would have let him keep the shirt, pants, socks and shoes fully recognizing that doing so encourages the practice of luggage theft, since it’s a social problem I’m largely powerless to solve but at least don’t want to make worse at the micro level.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. “I’d have had a hard time pressing charges against the thief and would have let him keep the shirt, pants, socks and shoes fully recognizing that doing so encourages the practice of luggage theft, since it’s a social problem”

    You have a major mental illness and should seek immediate medical treatment.

  2. If someone steals my property, I am sure as hell pressing charges. The fact that they’re in need does not justify stealing other people’s property.

  3. Since theft is no longer a punishable offense in any major US city, I’d have e punched the guy out and left him a bloody mess in the corner of the airport. Time to take back our cities. Enough is enough.

  4. Homeless should be arrested if at an airport or inside other public buildings. They are trespassing if not using the facility for its intended purpose (in this case to commence/end air travel or help someone else in that regard). I’m all for rounding up homeless anyway and putting them in a large camp well out of town. This is horrible but going to LA and seeing tents pitched a block from the ocean in Venice Beach or how homeless have taken over San Francisco, Seattle and Portland is very disturbing. Frankly I have ZERO sympathy for those that can’t pull their own weight and they shouldn’t be allowed to intrude on those of us that do.

    As for the clothes – I sure wouldn’t reward him by giving them to him but also would never wear them again (or anything else in the suitcase). All would go straight into the trash.

  5. And this is why we can’t have nice things.

    If and when that homeless guy you let off winds up doing something far worse, it’s going to be on you. It’s how “police reform” led to nearly a 100% increase in the black homicide rate. Short term, feel-good policies have resulted in thousands of dead black people. “But we meant well!” is no excuse. Do better. Start thinking through your immediate virtue signal and realize the consequences. Soft-hearted does not need to mean soft-headed, but that’s the direction we’re going.

  6. I would have beat the living daylights out of anyone whom stole my luggage, homeless or not, and then pressed charges against the thief.

  7. Boy you’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel with your commenters, Gary.
    This is starting to look like twitter and other sewers of the internet.

  8. @Retired Gambler – Sir, What you are asking for is just basic common sense, you couldn’t ask that much in a current Democrat run America.

    As for ‘Frankly I have ZERO sympathy for those that can’t pull their own weight’. I can totally agree with this somewhat crude line. Coming from Venezuela, where Social Security for retired ppl is $4 (yes, no typo FOUR DOLLARS) a MONTH, and my father Emeritus University Professor, retired at the highest level of the academy, is on the ‘highest end’ of the salaries in Venezuela at $45 a month. Yeah, back in my homecountry I used to have total sympathy for those can’t pull their own weight.

    Since coming to America, all but just 1 of my former employees came here too (mostly by my advice, some of them were with me for 20 years so we were very close and they very much respected my knowledge and life advice), they came in all the ‘flavors’ you can imagine… Some of the most privileged flew with visa (before expiration, as we don’t have a US Embassy down there anymore), some flew to Mexico and came by the green pastures (back when Mexico didn’t required a Visa for Venezuelans), and the less lucky took the long, ‘greenest’ route thru the Darien Gap (7 to 10 days average on one of the most dangerous jungles of the planet).

    Most of them came as we say, only with ‘una mano adelante y una atrás’, as to say without a single $ in savings. (I even loaned money to some of them to cover the trip expenses) All of them, no exception, begun to work as soon as they set a foot in this GREAT and BLESSED country, even without a single paper, without a single privilege (like those blessed by being born here) all in the range of $15 to $24 an hour (plus tips for those who work were they apply). Essentially earning more in an hour than they used to earn in a month back there. To summarize, their lives have changed exponentially for the good, no to keep extending on particular details. And I can assure any of you here that they are absolutely grateful for being in this great country.

    So yes, it will be very hard for me to have any sympathy for someone who decides to destroy their own life without appreciating how easy you all have it here.

  9. My God. The lack of compassion and surplus of anger in these is appalling. I hope those who posted this series of un-Christian, ungenerous, glib and borderline hateful messages behave better in real life, than in troll-life.

  10. Singapore could take over the US and then we cane them which should stop the bad actors

  11. I thought AirTags allowed a bag to be tracked quite a long ways. Why didn’t the passenger contact the police as soon as he saw the bag was off the airport and get it back the same day? He was able to see that the bag was back at the airport 2 days later. I don’t have AirTags so maybe I don’t understand how they work.

  12. I would have beat the hellout of the guy and the guy who didn’t press charges if I saw the whole thing go down… or I would have had my husband do so.

  13. Evan K – those who think like you are a large part of the problem, not the solution. Stealing is a biblical crime. It is one of the Ten Commandments so how is it un-Christian to berate thieves?

  14. We had our car stolen once (with my husband’s wallet in the glove compartment). The next day the guy was putting gas in our car using my husband’s credit card. We immediately called the police to go get the guy at the gas station. The police said they would not go out there. Just because the guy was driving our stolen car and using stolen credit cards did not mean that he was the one who stole the car. The thief was never caught. I imagine this luggage theft works the same way.

  15. Free clothing for the homeless is readily available from many charitable sources in Atlanta. No reason to steal from others. – The Salvation Army, the Baptist Mission, and many others are there to help. The homeless do have places they can go and get off the streets in Atlanta. Some just won’t since they want to use drugs, etc and that’s not allowed in the shelters. Others want their “independence” and don’t want to share barracks style space with others. That’s their choice. – There are hundreds of private and publicly funded emergency shelters serving the city of Atlanta, and together with transitional housing programs, they provide a total of 2,756 beds. There are 1,022 transitional housing beds. Emergency shelters provide 1,734 emergency shelter beds. – There are always unfilled beds available. – – Atlanta is estimated to have only 3,500 homeless.

  16. It’s sad the comments made here, beating the hell out of someone doesn’t fix the issue! Why didn’t he just report it as soon as the bag left the airport, and why on earth do people need to put 3k worth of stuff in their suitcase? Especially a suitcase from Ross/TjMaxx! Seriously! I’ve seen way better suitcases at Costco! That’s not even a Supreme bag! I also totally agree homeless people should not be able to have accommodations at the airport.

  17. Homelessness was on the decline until about 2016 then had a pretty sharp rise from 2016 to 2020, wiping out a decade of reductions. That’s despite cities like Boston being able to reduce their homelessness from 2016 on. I feel especially for the veterans out there struggling.

  18. This is a problem at LAX. Homeless are taking over the baggage claim areas, and stealing luggage. The problem is that they get arrested, are released, and they come right back to LAX and just continue to to it.

    The airport police need the right to stop and evict anyone hanging around the airport who doesn’t have a valid flight within a reasonable time. Any observant cop will recognize these people because they are hanging around way too long and acting suspicious.

    We finally got rid of the Moonies and other solicitors who claimed that they had the right to be at the airport because it was “public property”. That issue has been settled. Homeless and scammers don’t belong at the airport either.

  19. I didn’t realize there’s so many horrible, heartless human beings that read this blog. Shame on all of you. One set of clothing is not worth “beating the hell out of someone” or getting them arrested or just being a jerk.

    I’m disgusted.

  20. Wow the comment about people not pulling their weight was awful. Sure there are lazy homeless people,but the vast majority are vets with PTSD or they are I’ll and can’t work. Drugs are absolutely a problem. This problem was created by us not taking care of people. No one pays a liveable wage and health care should be universal. We are now on our way to a 3rd world status. What happened to empathy my goodness the comments sound like a proud boy party

  21. Maybe we should do what some airports in Latin America do – no ticket or boarding pass means No entry into the terminal. Only passengers and employees allowed inside. Yes, an airport is a public space built with tax dollars, but so are hospitals. You don’t see people just going to the hospital to hang out.

  22. @Evan K – “The lack of compassion and surplus of anger in these is appalling.”

    While I actually DO have compassion for homeless folks, that compassion stops when they steal things that don’t belong to them.

    @Marc – “I’d much rather live in Evan K‘s society than in yours.”

    If you did live in that society, you’d only have half of your stuff because some homeless guy would steal the other half.

  23. @Robert Paulsen – so you are OK with theft, trespassing and other illegal activities. That is the problem with today’s woke, liberal, snowflake society. You want to be “compassionate” and are willing to over look illegal activities. I guess you are also fine w homeless bums pitching tents and turning parks and other public areas into their bathrooms and shooting galleries (drugs).

    I’m not! Our country is not better off with this. Round up homeless, get them away from civilization (fenced in work camps away from populated areas) and make them work. The liberal cities in the west coast are becoming sh**holes. Even liberals complain when it happens to their neighborhood but it should never been allowed to get to that point.

    For you bleeding hearts that think I’m heartless why don’t you adopt a couple of homeless and let them live w you. Put your money where your mouth is. I tend to stock up and am willing to defend my property if any think about settling down near me.

  24. Homelessness is often a choice and is not always a result of bad circumstances. It was a choice made by a homeless person when that bag was stolen. He had other options as there are plenty of groups that give clothing away for free. He chose to steal and probably would be stealing something else he wanted if he were not homeless. So, pack up the virtue signal.

  25. Hmm, this @Kristen lady just said “Homelessness is often a choice” – wow. I mean, you don’t have to be a “woke” or progressive nut job (of which it seems your current America has plenty of) to realize this is insane thing to say.
    What is wrong with you that you actually believe this?
    People who are homeless are so due to many different reasons (drugs, other addictions, mental issues, or just financial distress even).
    Who choses to be homeless?

  26. I fly QR and don’t have a need for air tags, etc. QR respects private property.

    I shall note that ATL is dangerous destination. Transiting through ATL on DL to the Caribbean remains safe, right?

  27. MrNonrever – using “cheap” luggage is a good way to lessen the risk of having it broken into or stolen. I used to use Rimowa until I had a piece of carry-on stolen. The police officer I reported the theft to gave me the tip of using luggage that is not attractive to thieves. $3000 is not a large sum to have in decent clothes in a valise. Not everyone runs around in jeans, sleeveless tops and plastic shoes.

  28. Wow. I must agree the fundamental lack of compassion in some of these comments is appalling. In the US, poverty is generally not the driver of homelessness. The vast majority of homeless are suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, or both. It is easy to feel sympathy for the first group while criminalizing the second, but the reality is both are intertwined. Obviously, it is morally wrong for someone to steel clothes or food from someone else. However, what is the solution? Shall we throw them all in jail, so it’s even harder to recover when their sentence is up? Shall we re-open all those nice, state-run asylums that were rife with abuse and short on actual treatment? If this were easy to solve, we’d have solved it.

  29. @Andy11235 – my hope is we could reestablish debters prisons for the bums, create asylums (w mandatory commitment) for the crazies and throw the rest into jail (or better yet a work camp far removed from civilization) for trespassing or other crimes.

    Zero sympathy for the parasites of society.

  30. Did the homeless man steal the bag from the secure area or did he steal it from the carousel? I usually try to get to the carousel before my bag comes out to cut down on the possibility of it being picked up by someone else. I strategically stand where I can identify it as soon as possible. Was a claim put in for the lost bag? Airports and airlines need to do a better job of checking the claim stub against the bag. Instead they put the problem on the lap of the passenger. Scat rolls down hill.

    I’ve flown through Atlanta before on Delta. Nothing made me eager to repeat that trip. Shipping luggage via a parcel service sounds better every day but I’m sure it is more expensive.. I’ve been lucky to only have airline damaged luggage and not airline lost luggage. Replace the luggage every few trips and all is well.

  31. There’s no practical way of checking every bag against a claim check. With an average flight carrying around 170 passengers (and up to 300 or more on widebodies) it would require probably 4 employees per flight to staff the baggage claim area as well as putting up barriers around the baggage claim area. This really is not practical.

  32. @Retired Gambler – They wont! ever… as every socialist in the world, they are only ‘charitable’ with other peoples money!.. until it runs out.

    @Danielle – here comes the BS of the ‘livable wage’, there’s not other place in the world with easier access to a more than livable wage than the US I can counter your fallacy with almost 40 former employees plus hundreds of friends from Venezuela who moved here. As for ‘universal healthcare’ (it least you matured past the ‘free’ fallacy), you can try it in Venezuela or Cuba, you guys speaks wonders of the socialism.

    @Kristen Bello – Absolutely, that statement is a hard truth (that’s why it triggered so much of the USA hatin’ left), specially in a country like this were there are such many resources (i’m still amazed with the food pantries my friends showed me). Being a drug addict is absolutely a choice, with total disregard for your own life and the ones of your beloved ones. As for mental health issues, that’s a sad issue where apparently there are no caring family members of the affected ppl (many of the sufferers can’t bear with that by themselves), maybe that’s a by product of all the distancing from conservative core family values and ties? totally promoted by the Liberals.

  33. @JimC due to the high rate of theft in the 3rd world, in many places they still do it. And is exactly as you describe it, absolutely not practical.

  34. @BBK is what I love about hard working immigrants whether documented or not. They come here, don’t look for a hand-out and work hard, often doing better than many people born in this country.

    As for checking bags against luggage stubs, anyone who has been to a modern grocery store that has self checkouts can see a solution for baggage checkout. For me, self checkout has been the most time saving invention stores ever did. One person can oversee many checkout lanes. This style of automation has already decreased the time for going through immigration, customs and agricultural inspection. The reason that airlines don’t implement such a system is that they don’t really care about passenger luggage. It costs them money and time to deal with. My luggage was dealt with better by Greyhound when I was in college decades ago. Alas, the distances make traveling by Greyhound impractical for me these days.

  35. …what I love about hard working immigrants whether documented or not. They come here, and work totally on a tax-free cash basis on CashApp, etc. No student loans. Free food, housing, medical, etc., everything from DC politicians. Often doing better than many people born here with student loans, income taxes, market-rate rent, medical co-pays and deductibles, etc. Still I’d rather fly transcontinental than take Greyhound bus transcontinental.

  36. @jns- A grocery store self-checkout line is not like a baggage claim area at an airport. Have you ever seen a grocery self-checkout line with 150 (or even 50) people in it all at the same time?

  37. At the Ezeiza airport in Buenos Aires the baggage claim area cannot be accessed by the general public – which makes way more sense. You enter the public area after you’ve retrieved your bags and they have gone through the scanner on the way out.

  38. @Barbara Beaulaurier, this is why I wondered if it was taken from a controlled area.
    @JimC I have seen long lines waiting in wholesale type stores. When my local grocery store added two more scanners, the wait decreased significantly and most were scanning and bagging a lot more than one or two bag tags. I have also not seen 150 people jump into line all at once after retrieving luggage, but I have seen that many times for immigration at LAX and BKK when going through immigration. After retrieving luggage, it is a continuous trickle with occasional groups.
    @BigTee, have you ever worked with a significant number of immigrants? I have, mostly documented and college educated, but some not. One won a diversity lottery slot. He came but didn’t have a lot of resources so he went into the Marines, served and was honorably discharged. Then he used the GI Bill to get a college education and then got an engineering job. Most immigrants actually pay taxes where a lot of people born in the USA live off of the system. Your response sounds like your favorite biased source.

  39. All I can say that if passengers on a domestic USA flight have to wait more than 30 seconds to get out of the baggage claim area they will go ballistic. People want to get their bag and go- right now- no excuses. I suspect the number of bags that are stolen are SO minimal that it never enters the mind of -or actually occurs- at all. It’s just not a big issue that should require any changes. If 100,000 passengers claims their bags at a large airport and only 10 appear to be stolen- it’s just not something any time or money should be thrown at. Just make travel simple, despite some very occasionally major annoyances. Their are enough already without having to “glamorize” an occasional problem (not that it’s not a major problem for the passenger affected).

  40. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I’m often surprised by your compassion for others. I don’t know if I’d react with as much compassion for this man as you would.

    It’s nice to see. Keep it up.

  41. I appreciate Gary Leff’s concern for any and every commercial airline passenger, worldwide. Some passengers fly private jet, with its own set of crime and security issues. Who is looking out for the rest of us? For the rest of us, there’s Gary Leff.

  42. I disagree with you. Just because someone is homeless does NOT give them the right to steal someone else belongings! I myself was homeless for a year and I stole NOTHING! I would let the dude keep the clothing but sorry allowing people to steal from others just because they are homeless solves NOTHING and can cause an even bigger issue. Imagine if every homeless person was stealing like that. If you want to help the homeless then do something about it yourself. They could sure use your help.

  43. “Beating the hell out of someone doesn’t fix the issue” Really? Whether it’s luggage or land, it’s stealing and it seems to be the preferred method of justice throughout recorded history. So now we should just talk about it? That ain’t working so good.

Comments are closed.