Breaking News
More () »

'You feel the pressure of authority' | Passenger's jewelry stolen from airport security, flight attendant arrested

Rebecca Valley of Wesley Chapel, Florida, was charged with one count of grand larceny and the gold bracelets were eventually returned.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A 60-year-old flight attendant was arrested Monday at Reagan National Airport (DCA) after she allegedly took a passenger's bracelet set from a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint.

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) confirmed that Rebecca Valley, of Wesley Chapel, Florida was charged with one count of grand larceny for the incident. Valley has been identified as a flight attendant for Republic Airways, an express carrier for American Airlines.

The incident was first shared through an anonymously submitted message by a local account called Washingtonian Problems. The message stated that a woman was at precheck at DCA when her jewelry was taken. 

"They made her take off her jewelry and someone stole it!" the message reads. 

According to the anonymous message, surveillance footage showed that it was a flight attendant that took the jewelry, which was confirmed by MWAA. 

The victim's daughter, who only wanted to be identified by her first name, Lisa, told us what her mom said happened.

According to Lisa, the gold bracelets were a gift from the victim's husband and are thought to be worth thousands of dollars. Lisa said her mom flies frequently and has never had to take them off to go through security, but this time the Pre-Check agent insisted.

She took off the bracelets and the agent put them in a bowl to pass over the X-ray machine. According to Lisa, her mother was then pulled aside for a secondary screening, including a body scan, wanding and pat-down. 

“She felt silly, or that she should have known better but she was being told what to do,” Lisa said of her mother walking away from her valuables. “You feel the pressure of authority,” she said.

When she finally passed the screening and went to look for her belongings Lisa said her mother’s bracelets were gone.

She said her mother told the TSA agents and the were able to pull up video surveillance and in a short time found what she says was the flight attendant on camera picking up the bracelets as she went through security.

Authorities told Lisa's mom they eventually found Valley on the flight she was scheduled to work. They waited for her to fly back to D.C. and arrested her. According to Lisa, Valley still had the bracelets when authorities confronted her, and confessed to what happened.

WMAA spokesperson Crystal Nosal stated that the value of the bracelet set is reportedly $8,000. They were eventually returned to the victim, Lisa said.

TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said this isn't the first time an incident like this has happened. Last week a passenger-on-passenger theft took place at Newark Liberty International Airport when a wedding band was stolen at a checkpoint. That story ended happily for the victim, with the stolen property returned.

To avoid theft at TSA checkpoints, Farbstein has some tips for travelers.

"What I recommend is that when removing wallets, mobile phones and yes, jewelry, from their pockets that travelers place those items into their carry-on bag instead of into a bin," Farbstein said. "As for electronics such as laptops, put your business card, or a bright decal or something like that right onto the laptop so that it is easy to spot."

Watch Next: Dulles International Airport makes TSA's 'Top 10 catches at airports' in 2020

WUSA9 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.

Download the WUSA9 app to get breaking news, weather and important stories at your fingertips.

Sign up for the Get Up DC newsletter: Your forecast. Your commute. Your news.
Sign up for the Capitol Breach email newsletter, delivering the latest breaking news and a roundup of the investigation into the Capitol Riots on January 6, 2021.

Before You Leave, Check This Out