At New York's 3 airports there were nearly 600 reports of luggage theft in the last 2 years. But it also happens at other airports.
When El Al started getting complaints from passengers about items missing from their baggage cameras were hidden in the belly of the plane. ABC News Nightline reports stunning results. Seven workers were charged with ripping off valuables, worth thousands of dollars.
He counts the cash and put it with credit cards in his pocket.
But there is also the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Its security officers may open your checked bag to inspect it physically. If it is locked they will destroy the lock without being liable for the damage caused.
To prevent this you may buy a TSA approved lock that can be opened by security officers using universal 'master' keys. You can buy this kind of locks at airports and travel stores.
TSA officers may also steal from checked bags. The agency fired 381 employees in the period 2003-2012, for allegedly stealing.
Thus, never pack valuables in your checked luggage, but put them in your carry-on and keep an eye on it. If your carry-on is going to be checked at the gate, open it, remove your valuables and take them to your seat,
Related article: "The top-10 airports for TSA theft"