Man Faces Charges For Stealing Life Vests Off of Airplanes

B enjamin Wenzl allegedly exited from an airplane operated by Southwest Airlines on Monday, November 3, 2014 with two life vests taken from under the seats in his carry-on bag and was met by police at the location of Albuquerque International Sunport for curbside pickup.

“He self-admitted he took them as a prank for prank gifts”, said Marshall Katz — who is the chief of the City of Albuquerque Aviation Department Police — according to this article written by Cole Miller of KRQE News 13 in Albuquerque. “This could be the difference between life and death. It’s not a joke. It’s not a prank. It’s a crime.”

Benjamin Wenzl. Photograph courtesy of the City of Albuquerque, Aviation Department Police.

Benjamin Wenzl. Photograph courtesy of the Albuquerque Aviation Police Department.

Wenzl reportedly admitted that when he inflates a life vest, “his friends get a kick out of it.”

Imagine searching for a life vest at your seat aboard an airplane during the unlikely event of an actual emergency — only to find that there is not one there. Fortunately, the seat cushion can also be used as a life vest of sorts.

Wentz — who is facing a misdemeanor larceny charge but could also face federal charges — supposedly admitted to stealing life vests in the past. The charges were then temporarily dismissed because the criminal complaint was not complete; but the charges are expected to be refiled.

Althought I find this story rather disturbing — as there is no excuse for what Wenzl is accused of doing, in my opinion — I found this quote supposedly said by Katz which is so bizarre that it has me scratching my head more than a person suffering from a severe dandruff and eczema problem:

“In my 30 year career, I can tell you people will steal anything even dirty diapers.”

Steal dirty diapers? Huh?!?

Could someone please explain that one? I cannot for the life of me figure out why someone would want to steal a dirty diaper…

Photograph of Southwest Airlines aircraft ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

2 thoughts on “Man Faces Charges For Stealing Life Vests Off of Airplanes”

  1. I have been told it is common for passengers to steal these. They just disappear when the plane is checked and the airline needs replace them.

    Unfortunate yes, but I wonder was he very obvious that he got caught and that we don’t hear this more often?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      The suspect was reportedly caught by at least one member of the flight crew stuffing a life vest into his carry-on bag, Christopher tin.

      It is pathetic that life vests are stolen at all…

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