How is this happening? I-Team: Warning for travelers about stolen luggage

CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team has uncovered a series of recent cases of luggage and valuables stolen at Hopkins Airport.

That led us to investigate how it’s happening.

A police report shows, last weekend, a family flew into Cleveland. When the family’s luggage didn’t come out of the carousel, police found security video showed a stranger had walked off with a suitcase.

Days earlier, another report of a stolen bag. Again, a report shows cameras had captured an “unknown individual” had taken the bag.

Late last month, another report shows a stolen bag was later found on an airport elevator with money and other valuables taken out.

And back in January, another report of baggage stolen.

Late last year we reported on another series of thefts at Hopkins, and one of the victims was an artist from Peru.

A thief walked off with her suitcase including jewelry she had designed.

Through an interpreter, she told the I-Team, "And we went to pick up our luggage, and we found out only my mother's luggage was in there." She added, "At first, I thought it was a delayed luggage issue. Then, it actually was kind of shocking to find out it actually was stolen. I wasn't expecting to see something like that in Cleveland."

So how does this happen? Consider, it’s not hard for a thief to blend into the crowd at the airport. Not hard to get away unnoticed, either. Time and again, investigators have found crooks took luggage and then disappeared by hopping on an RTA train.

Also, in baggage claim, no one is checking tags to make sure no one walks away with someone else’s luggage.

A woman did get busted for stealing the artist’s luggage. That suspect pleaded guilty, and she is now going through a court program that could lead to her having her record wiped clean.

Reports do not indicate arrests in the recent cases.

Busy travelers like Karyna Gonzalez hadn’t thought about hands of criminals at baggage claim. But she will now.

She said "Trying to get to my destination, making sure there's no delays or anything like that. So the luggage is kinda like the last thing we think about."

We reached out twice to the airport and Cleveland police for comment, and we did not hear back.

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