Going To Hell: Rash Of Thefts From Malaysia Air Crash Victims

by
Lauren Burgoon
Families are revictimized as thieves steal identities and valuables.

As if losing a loved one on either of the Malaysia Airlines crashes this year wasn't hard enough, now families are dealing with thefts.

In some cases, they've been physical thefts, like at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine. In other cases, alleged criminals are using identity theft to victimize families.

Officials are fighting back with arrests. A Malaysian banker and her husband were arrested on charges they stole more than $30,000 from victims of Flight 370, the still missing airliner that disappeared mysteriously in March.

Nur Shila Kanan and her husband Basheer Ahmad Maula Sahul Hameed pleaded not guilty to 16 total charges. The couple is accused of withdrawing the money over a nearly two-month period.

It takes a more sophisticated thief to go steal someone's identity -- the only option available to criminals when there is no crash site. But passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which crashed in July in Ukraine, had their possessions stolen even before the remains were recovered.

Looters targeted electronics, wallets and other valuables. With the crash site barred to investigators for so long, there's no telling how much was taken. But some victim's families found stolen credit cards being used after the crash.

Families who are dealing with overwhelming grief must also deal with the heartless thugs who use a tragedy for personal gain. These crimes usually involve several countries, and it's time for authorities to cooperate to ensure all of these people are held accountable for their heartless thefts.