‘El Al worker stole electronic gear from cockpits’

Police discovered stolen communications device used to send distress signals in case of a technical malfunction at employee's home.

January 18, 2011 06:20
1 minute read.
An El Al plane taxiing down the runway

311_el al plane. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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An El Al employee was arrested this week by the police’s Unit 747, which operates at Ben-Gurion Airport, for stealing two cellphones from the cockpit of an Arkia passenger jet, and a distress signal transmitter from an El Al plane.

Police received a complaint from a security officer on behalf of Arkia in late December, detailing a report by a pilot who, upon landing in Eilat, noticed that a cellphone in his cockpit had been replaced with an older model.

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A police check revealed that the older model was itself stolen from the plane a year ago.

Detectives focused their investigation on people who had access to the plane’s cockpit, including El Al ground staff who service Arkia at airports in Israel.

The stolen phone was traced to a 24-year-old Rishon Lezion man, and police obtained a warrant to search his home. The phone was recovered during the search.

During questioning, the man accused a 24-year-year-old El Al employee, from Kfar Yona, 7 km. east of Netanya, of stealing the device. He said he had paid for it.

Police searched the home of the El Al employee, and discovered a stolen communications device used to send distress signals in case of a technical malfunction.

“This is a safety device that is both expensive and valuable in case of a malfunction,” police said.

The suspect confessed to removing the device from an El Al plane and taking it home. He also confessed to stealing two cellphones from an Arkia plane, as well as lifting perfumes and cosmetics from other Arkia planes.

State prosecutors are writing up an indictment against the man, police said. Police stressed that Arkia and El Al fully cooperated with the investigation.

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