A colleague was winging her way to the Maldives from Los Angeles on Qatar Airways for a business trip when the unexpected happened. She emerged from the loo only to regret she ever left her seat because when she returned it was just in time to witness her seat mate rifling through her handbag.

In other words, the sky-bound victim (we’ll call her Scarlet) caught the up-in-the-air thief (who shall remain nameless) red handed.

Scarlet talked about how this horrible incident came down. “I was on my way back from using the bathroom and I was a little too quick for [the woman sitting next to me]. I still can’t believe I caught her going through my purse. She literally had my wallet in her hand.”

This frequent flyer added, “I’ll never forget how shocked I was–and she seemed so lovely when we were drinking Champagne at take off.”

As a matter of course while processing her shock, Scarlet confronted the apparent robber, who countered that she was trying “to help me as my wallet ‘fell out’ of my purse. The truth is that she would have had to dig to even find my wallet.”

This nearly duped traveler then reported the incident to the flight crew. Their reaction? “They moved me to another seat and made an announcement to ‘watch out for your valuables’ during the flight. I’d never heard that one before. You would think they were actually trying to keep [the entire episode] low key.”

This theft In the air on Qatar Airways may be a shocker to some but this is no isolated incident. Others report this problem, often during social media rants, time and time again. One FaceBook devotee talked about her RayBans being stolen out of her handbag during a domestic flight.

Scarlet notes, “This is becoming more and more serious. Glad the word is getting out about airplane thieves. You can’t be too careful–even in business class!”

With this worry comes a warning: At all times, be sure you keep your valuables close at hand when you are up in the air–and down on the ground, too. Travel is an adventure but losing your important possessions shouldn’t be part of that equation.