Airport Travelers Urged To Keep Eye On Items At Security Checkpoint - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh
This type of scam has been around for years, DFW has a video of a team of these folks stealing bags from people as they go thru screening. The have hand and arm signals, the team is usually 3 to 5 people.
They have look outs that pick the right people to hit, then they start the play. The deal is to get two people in line in front of you. One goes thru, and then stall waiting for his bag, the other waits till you put you bag on the x-ray belt, they may even help you. Others watch for TSA folks keep to close an eye on things, and will call off a play if they think they may get caught. Once you bag is going thru, the 2nd guy in front of you will have a problem getting thru, and delay you, the 1st guy in line will wait for your bag and grab it as it comes thru.
They normally stuff computers in bags, then just walk off, but they also have special bags they carry that will fit over your whole bag and take it all. Most of the time they will get on a plane to a nearby location immediately, or simply go back out the exit lane - the key is to not get caught.
Dallas and Houston had teams that would fly and steal from one airport to the other, the teams are often from South American countries, and use the language barrier to help confuse things. They have even used it to claim a mistake if caught. One man or woman teams are also out there, and they are just looking for an opportunity, if it takes a few times that is fine. The key is to not draw attention, so they can wait all day if needed.
What you want to do is not let your bag go into the x-ray until you're next in line if possible, if not keep an eye out for a delay team.
Like always, awareness training is a great way to reduce the chance of this happening.