A Louisiana man suspected of stealing luggage was in custody Tuesday after his arrest at Los Angeles International Airport.
Officers responded about 1:45 a.m. Monday to a report of two unattended bags in a restroom in LAX Terminal 2, according to Los Angeles Airport Police Officer Rob Pedregon.
“When officers arrived it was clear that the bags were connected to a baggage belt theft and that the suspect had fled the area,” Pedregon said
“As officers were returning to the station to catalogue the items, airport police Officer Aston Chan and his partner Officer Eric Brown observed a subject walking along the arrivals area that they recognized as a person of interest from a recent airport police `BOLO’ (be on the lookout) bulletin.”
When the officers stopped to question the man, who had two bags in his possession, he initially said they were his, but the luggage turned out to contain women’s garments, Pedregon said.
The suspect then fled, scaling fences with the officers in close pursuit, before he was caught, the officer said.
The man was identified as 25-year-old Okello Wheeler of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, who was arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary, Pedregon said.
Airport police detectives Vincent Roddy and Ben Spolarich subsequently went through hours of security camera video and “isolated footage that linked Wheeler” to the theft of the bags that were found in the airport restroom, Pedregon said, adding that Wheeler is facing possible charges in connection with the theft of those bags as well.
Wheeler was being held in lieu of $40,000 bail, according to sheriff’s inmate records.
“The use of technology is a great supplement to our mission but there is no better means of policing our airports than having boots on the ground with vigilant and intuitive patrol officers wearing them,” Chief of Airport Police David Maggard said.
The BOLO bulletin — which included images of Wheeler, whose name was unknown to police prior to his arrest — referred to April 8 thefts of baggage at LAX.
–City News Service
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