HOUSTON – Five men have been arrested on organized crime charges in the recent thefts of hundreds of pieces of luggage from George Bush Intercontinental Airport, police said Tuesday.
Houston Police Capt. Rick Bownds, the commander of the department's airport division, said the men are employees of an airport contractor and were arrested over the weekend. An investigation is ongoing, and police expect to make more arrests soon.
The case began Dec. 26, when employees of a pet store noticed 68 pieces of luggage abandoned in the store's industrial trash bin. Police said the luggage appeared to have been picked over, with any valuables stolen. Another 90 pieces of stolen luggage were found abandoned at two undisclosed locations this weekend, Bownds said.
Those facing charges of engaging in organized criminal activity were twin brothers Manuel and Ricardo Aguilar, 23; Carlos Osorio, 24; Erick Perez, 29; and Daniel Venegas, who turns 26 this week.
Bownds said the men worked for Menzies Aviation Group, a large company that contracts to run baggage handling for connecting flights across the United States. Bownds said Menzies officials had been "completely cooperative" in the investigation.
The luggage was stolen from "virtually every airline" at Bush airport, Bownds said, but the investigation shows the operation did not extend outside Houston.