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Three Accused of Stealing Luggage from Airport Baggage Claim

Three suspects have been arrested for alleged theft when they were discovered taking luggage that did not belong to them at the Miami International Airport. The bags in question were taken during a three month period in the middle of the holiday travel season.

On December 15 a passenger on board a flight arrived at the Miami International Airport and learned that her luggage was not on the conveyor belt at her designated baggage claim area. The woman called Miami-Dade police and told them of the incident three days later on December 18, which led to the authorities viewing the video surveillance camera footage from the time period in which the event took place.

The video displayed a man, later identified as Wilbert Cabrera-Valdes, removing two bags from the belt, one of which was recognized as the woman caller’s possessions.

The following month, on December 26, authorities received accounts from two different travelers at MIA notifying them of their baggage being absent from the claim area. When police saw the video from that date they recognized who they believed was Cabrera-Valdes accompanied by a woman. They were seen wheeling bags from the claim area. The woman is believed to be Ana Columbie, who resides in Miami.

In a third incident on December 31 at MIA, an American Airlines representative saw two women who she believed she had seen retrieving luggage the day before. They were seen waiting for the baggage from an arriving flight again, and the worker reported the curious situation to her manager who notified the police.

When one of the women was noticed picking up a piece of luggage the American Airlines staff requested she present them with the baggage check tags. The woman, who again was recognized as Columbie, said she would retrieve the tags and left the other woman’s company.

Columbie never returned, and she left the other woman, Madelaide Martincarreras, in possession of the luggage. When police arrived Martincarreras was taken into custody.

On January 1, officers went to Cabrera-Valdes’ house and discovered five pieces of luggage. He reportedly made an admission to taking part in the events. He was arrested and taken to the Metro West Detention Center where he faces five counts of third-degree grand theft.

Columbie was also taken into custody and charged with two counts of third-degree grand theft. She posted $5000 bond on Sunday and was released.

If you or someone you love is suspected of a theft crime, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.