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Passenger warns of luggage theft at San Jose airport ahead of Super Bowl

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A suspected thief caught on video with someone else's luggage at Mineta San Jose International Airport has passengers on edge. (KGO-TV)

A suspected thief caught on video with someone else's luggage at Mineta San Jose International Airport has passengers on edge.

The incident comes as tens of thousands are expected to fly to the Bay Area for Super Bowl 50.

An airport spokesperson says baggage theft is rare here, or else police would be setting up sting operations.

But even if it's just a lone thief, he or she can steal property worth thousands of dollars by taking just one or two bags.

"There is a feeling of being violated. Somebody has my clothes and my personal items," said Veronica Pena.

Pena, who is a graphic artist, is still feeling uneasy after her luggage was stolen from baggage claim at Mineta.

The bags arrived four hours ahead of her because of a missed flight connection.

Her bags were seen in a surveillance photo, sitting next to the carousel. Police tell her the man seen in the video is the suspect who took them.

"They usually pull them off to the side and set them inside the baggage office, but apparently not this time," said Pena.

Now, Pena is filling out forms, seeking compensation from United Airlines. This list from just one bag totals $2,500. Compensation is capped at $3,500 for domestic flights per passenger. It's about half that for international flights.

Jaime Omens can't remember anyone ever checking her baggage claim tags. "They give it to me, I keep it, but I don't think anyone looks at it," said Omens. "It's scary."

Pena wants to warn fellow passengers, especially with the crowds flying in for the Super Bowl at Levis' Stadium.

"Passengers just need to be aware that this is a problem in San Jose and that they need to get to the baggage claim as quickly as possible, and if they do miss their flight, ave somebody pick up their bags," suggested Pena.

And people do get separated from their bags. One time, passenger Kelli Moors' bags got to San Diego two hours before she did.

United has returned 50,000 lost bags to passengers this past year, thanks to an updated system, but did not respond to ABC7 News about bags stolen from claim areas.

Related Topics:
travelair travelairline feeairline industrypassengerSuper Bowl 50bay areasportsinvestigationtravel tipstheftpoliceFAAsurveillance videoMineta San Jose International AirportSan JoseSan FranciscoSan Francisco International AirportOakland International Airport
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