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Six arrested in crackdown on luggage thefts at Los Angeles airport

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A crackdown on theft by luggage handlers at Los Angeles International Airport has netted six arrests along with jewelry, electronics and clothing stolen from passengers' baggage, law enforcement officials said on Thursday.

The arrests came after airport police and the Los Angeles Police Department served 25 search warrants late on Wednesday as part of an investigation focused on current and former employees of companies hired by airlines to handle luggage, police said.

"It's a disappointment, but a fact of life, that sometimes a few people will succumb to the temptations at LAX," Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon said in a statement.

"The actions of these few do not represent the nearly 45,000 individuals who work for the nearly 350 employers here at LAX," he said.

Of the six people arrested, four were taken into custody on suspicion of receiving stolen property and two were held on outstanding warrants, said Los Angeles Airport Police spokeswoman Sergeant Belinda Nettles.

A Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office representative could not immediately be reached to comment on whether formal charges were filed against those arrested.

Police could not immediately say how many of those held, if any, might be baggage handlers at Los Angeles International Airport, which last year served about 66.7 million passengers.

In serving search warrants at the homes of suspects throughout Los Angeles County, officers recovered jewelry, clothing, electronics and other items they believe were stolen, police said.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Tom Brown)

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