Houston police arrest pair of suspected luggage thieves

HOUSTON – Houston police arrested two people and charged them with stealing luggage from terminals A and C at Bush Intercontinental Airport. Charles Gilbert Jr., 23, and Dwanae Jorden, 21, were charged felony aggregate theft.

Police had been looking for the pair since June 30, when the first stolen luggage report was filed with Houston police. Sgt. Bridget Lummus said that report allowed police to search surveillance video to get pictures of the suspected thieves. At the end of the July, an officer doing surveillance in baggage claim spotted Jorden walking out with a suitcase.

"They said they were having hard times with money, they didn't think they were hurting anybody so they figured nobody wanted that luggage that was left unattended, so they took it," Lummus said. "They did it so often they didn't stake it out, they basically walked in, found an unattended piece of luggage and took it."

Lummus said even though the first stolen luggage report was filed June 30, the pair admitted they had been stealing luggage for several months.

"They claim they come over here on a daily basis since probably February," Lummus said. "Anything of value they found in the luggage they'd sell on the streets and they kept the clothes."

Police believe the pair would take advantage of the time it took travelers to make their way from a plane to baggage claim.

"Sometimes people want to take their time, go to eat before they come down. I would highly suggest go to the luggage claim and pick up your luggage before you do that," Lummus said.

Lummus said they have linked the pair to five pieces of stolen luggage, but believe there are many more travelers who had their bags stolen but who never filed a report with police.

"They won't necessarily come and file a police report because they think that their luggage is just lost," Lummus said.

Lummus suggests filing a police report if a piece of luggage is missing and an airline cannot locate the bag within a couple of days. Lummus also said travelers should try to keep valuables in their carry-on bags and to write their contact information on the inside of a suitcase, instead of relying on luggage tags that can be easily removed.

"They don't want to be caught with somebody else's bags so that's the first thing they're going to do," Lummus said.