So, here's a link to a thread that includes what happened to my wife and I in March 2012 regarding our luggage being stolen: LINK
With that being said, there are several things you can do to try and minimize your exposure to criminals stealing your luggage from the Las Vegas Airport, and things you can do to minimize the risk from luggage that is stolen. Our recommendations are:
- Make your bag as obvious (read obnoxious) as possible. You can accomplish this by tying things to it, putting things on it or just the bag itself. The more it stands out, the far less likely a criminal sitting in the baggage claim is going to risk taking it off the conveyor. Popular methods for achieving this include tying bright ribbons or similar materials to the handles, using good ol' fashioned duct tape and taping up the entire bag, or just put a big LAS across the front of the bag in duct tape, get a bright pink, orange or whatever color you prefer bag, just go from there.
- Stand near where the bags come out and get dumped onto the conveyor. You don't have to be 'that guy' who hovers on top of the conveyor right where the bags are, just ensure you have a line of sight to the bag ejector thing. That will ensure that if someone does choose to jump in there and walk off with your bag, you'll see them, because your bag will be immediately recognizable to you if you completed the above step. Of course not only will it be easier to see them take your bag if it is obnoxiously adorned with ribbons or anything else, they'll be less likely to take it, so if you want to go zebra skin luggage, do it.
- If your bag does not show up, don't wait for the airlines to tell you your bag hasn't been located, file a police report immediately; they may get something useful quicker than the airline will. For example, five days after one of our bags was stolen, Southwest was still calling to tell me they were "actively searching for it" when we already knew four days earlier that a criminal had taken it.
- Make sure your luggage tag has a valid phone number, however, ideally it should be a cell phone or similar number that cannot be tracked back to your home address. An office number might be an option, but only if your office is staffed 24x7 so a non-criminal calling to find you would get a real person and could explain the situation. I'd also recommend only putting your initials rather than full name, and a PO Box or office address. My stolen luggage had my initials, a PO Box and cell phone; that allowed someone who learned about our stolen baggage to reach us after the criminal discarded the luggage tag, but the tag would not have given the criminal any further information even if they had kept it. Keep in mind that if you own a home, many times just having your name and knowing what state you're from will be enough for a criminal to determine your home address thanks to the proliferation of county property appraisers putting all of that information online. And regarding phone numbers, a quick Google search can often reveal your home address based on the phone if you've ever posted it on sites like craigslist, etc. So think about those things and be safe when deciding what information to put on your tags.