I-TEAM: Pair accused of stealing luggage which contained woman’s ashes, family desperate to find them

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Video just released to the FOX 8 I-TEAM shows how suspected thieves stole luggage at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, which contained the ashes of someone’s loved one.

It’s the latest case of luggage stolen at Hopkins. But, we’ve learned the security video has helped generate a break in this mystery.

Weeks ago, family members flew to Northeast Ohio to bury the ashes of Doris Mooren. But Harold Karaka, Doris’ son-in-law, told us the bag with the ashes was gone before the family made it down to baggage claim.

The video shows passengers arriving at baggage claim, and at the same time, you see a man and a woman coming from the other direction. They hover around the baggage carousel and then they each grab a suitcase. Police believe they, in fact, are the thieves.

Seemed like the ashes and the suspects were gone for good, but maybe not.

The family says Cleveland Police have told them they’ve narrowed in on suspects, and one has shed some light on the missing ashes.

Harold Karaka said, “They interviewed a suspect. Said that they dropped the bag at a transit terminal downtown and left it there when they discovered what was in the bag.”

He added, “It’s unusual. And the family is devastated.”

In this incident, a suitcase also was stolen from a man who’d traveled on that same flight.

These luggage thefts at Hopkins are happening from time to time. And, we recently showed you video of another case of luggage taken from baggage claim, stolen the same way.

Police have filed charges against a suspect in that other recent case.

They are now building evidence to get justice in the stolen ashes case.

Police say they looked for the ashes where one suspect told them the ashes had been ditched, but no luck.

Still Harold Karaka gives credit to the efforts investigators are making, and he’s not giving up hope.

“We just want to get the ashes back, and everything else is up to law enforcement,” he said.

And through it all, this mystery sends another warning to every air traveler. Keep close watch on your belongings, and be careful what you pack in your luggage.

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