AirTag locates stolen bag at Atlanta airport, suspect arrested

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

A traveler used an AirTag to track a bag stolen from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, prompting police to arrest the suspect.

The traveler, Fairburn resident Jameel Reid, posted an Instagram Reel video showing how he found the bag using the tracking device.

In the post, Reid noted he could not find his bag after his February flight. Reid’s bag had arrived on an earlier flight than he had, and he saw on his AirTag map that his bag was at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Credit: Instagram Reels

Credit: Instagram Reels

Reid, whose Instagram profile notes he is a video creator, filed a claim with Delta and police and returned home. Later, he saw the bag had been moved back to the airport, and thought someone must have returned it.

The next day he saw that the bag had been moved to the Sky Train station at the Georgia International Convention Center and went to the station where he said he found a homeless man sleeping, with his luggage and his clothes.

An Atlanta police incident report on the incident last month says Craig Nelson was arrested for theft, unlawful removal of baggage and criminal trespass, and says Nelson was taken to Clayton County jail.

Nelson, who has no fixed address, had been issued a written criminal trespass warning in October 2022 to not return to Hartsfield-Jackson after being seen “repeatedly soliciting passengers for money,” according to the incident report.

Reid’s Feb. 21 video has since gone viral and had been liked more than 51,000 times as of Wednesday morning, and was picked up by numerous media outlets.

Hartsfield-Jackson issued a statement saying it “works with its law enforcement, security, and airline partners to ensure a safe and secure environment” for passengers.

Theft from baggage carousels has been an issue for years at Hartsfield-Jackson.

The airport, city and community groups have also taken various approaches over the years to handling homeless people who are found at the world’s busiest airport.