MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Luggage and passenger items reported stolen this summer at three different airports have been recovered—and those accused of stealing them have been arrested.
While some of the items have been returned to the rightful owners, others remain unclaimed. Detectives are asking victims of stolen items to come forward Tuesday to claim their property.
“We’re talking about passengers who were at the carousel waiting for their bags that never arrived to call us,” said Detective Kalika Parker with the Miami-Dade Police Department.
“To come to the carousel and your items are not here, would be very devastating,” said traveler L’tenaya Roberts.
Airport District detectives and the Miami-Dade Police Department recovered numerous pieces of luggage and property that were reported stolen during June and July of 2014.
Alis Jimenez and Juan Fidalgo, according to investigators, were seen on different dates and times removing luggage from baggage claim carousels at Miami International Airport.
Detectives were able to locate Jimenez and Fidalgo and the two were taken into custody and the property was recovered.
The men, police said, confessed to stealing luggage from Palm Beach International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
“It was inside the house, assorted everywhere in different areas,” said Detective Parker. “At some point, there was property loaded inside a cardboard box as if it was going to be shipped.
Among the stolen items were watches, jewelry, computers, cell phones, shoes and prescription drugs.
Detectives with the Miami-Dade Police Department couldn’t put an estimated cost on the stolen items but say the cost alone in potential identity fraud was high.
Many of the items have been returned to their rightful owners, yet some remain unclaimed so detectives are encouraging victims of luggage theft to come forward Tuesday with the stolen luggage claims to possible identify some items that will be on display.
Following Jimenez’s and Fidalgo’s arrest, Emilio Gonzalez, the aviation director, released a statement praising the efforts of the Airport District police detectives “for swiftly bringing these criminals to justice and recovering property stolen from innocent visitors to our community.”
“These arrests send a strong message that criminal activity at Miami International Airport will not be tolerated and will be punished to the maximum degree possible. As Miami-Dade Aviation Director, I will continue to aggressively pursue all available control mechanisms and legal actions against this type of activity, and I will leave no stone unturned in this effort,” part of Gonzalez’s statement reads.
Some passengers pointed out on Tuesday that nothing prevents anyone from walking away from a carousel with stolen luggage.
“That could be something that the Miami government or the airport control could do… is to make sure additional security is in place,” said Roberts.
Officials said extra security is set up during the summer.
“We set up special details where we have extra officers, uniformed and non-uniformed in the terminal areas and in the baggage claim areas,” said Sgt. Christian Smith of Miami-Dade Police.
Travelers who flew with Insel Air, American Airlines, Delta, OR U.S. Airways in June or July are asked to call police at 305-876-7373 to schedule an appointment with a detective.
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