Airline employee charged with stealing bags after Asiana crash

1 Aug

Airline employee charged with stealing bags after Asiana crash

A United Airlines employee and his girlfriend have been arrested for allegedly stealing luggage at San Francisco International Airport in the wake of the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash.

Sean Sharif Crudup, 44, and Raychas Elizabeth Thomas, 32, both of Richmond, Calif., were arrested at the airport as they were about to depart on a trip to Hawaii.

The two are charged with grand theft and commercial burglary for allegedly stealing luggage from the airport two days after the crash, when many bags from the Asiana flight still had not been picked up.

Detective Sgt. Wes Matsuura of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office told ABCNews.com that it likely “was a crime of opportunity. A lot of bags were down there.”

Airport surveillance footage shows Crudup, a customer-service agent who was working at baggage claim, rifling through a bag.

One stolen bag, for example, belonged to a woman scheduled to fly to San Francisco on July 6, whose flight was rerouted when the airport was closed. By the time she got to the airport her bag was missing.

But days later she got a call from her personal shopper at Nordstrom’s asking why her sister had returned $6,000 worth of clothing.

The woman then contacted investigators, who obtained Nordstrom’s surveillance footage and identified Thomas as the person who returned the clothing for a cash refund.

San Mateo Sheriff’s deputies found electronics, laptops, jewelry and clothing in a search of Crudup and Thomas home.

United Airlines said in a statement that it “holds our employees to the highest standard and have zero tolerance for any theft.”

United “is assisting the San Francisco Police Department in this investigation, and this employee has been held out of service.”

Thursday, August 1, 2013

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