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Case Number: 2:23-cr-00410
Judge: Howard C. Nielson, Jr.
Court: United States District Court for the District of Utah (Salt Lake County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City
Description: Salt Lake City, Utah criminal defense lawyer represented the Defendant charged with theft of baggage from interstate shipping.
Leticia Marie Torres, 42, of Salt Lake City; and Brianna Marie Taylor, 42, of Midvale, Utah, are charged in one indictment and Charles Masters, 31, of West Valley City, Utah, is charged in a separate indictment.
As alleged in the indictment for Torres and Taylor, in January 2022, Torres and Taylor stole multiple pieces of baggage on various days from multiple victims with the intent to keep them for their personal use. As part of their scheme to defraud, Torres and Taylor used multiple stolen credit cards belonging to one of the victims and received payment and other items of value during a one-year period.
According to court documents, from January 2022 to February 2022, Masters stole thousands of dollars worth of baggage with the intent to keep them for his personal use.
Torres and Taylor are both charged with theft of baggage from interstate shipment, illegal transactions with an access device, and aggravated identity theft. Masters is charged with five counts of theft of baggage from interstate shipment. Torres, Taylor and Masters had their initial appearances on the indictment Nov. 16, 2023, before a U.S. District Court Judge at the Orrin G. Hatch United States District Courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City.
U.S. Attorney, Trina A. Higgins, of the District of Utah, Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD) and the Salt Lake City International Airport made the announcement.
The investigation is being worked jointly by an FBI Task Force Officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department and the Salt Lake City Police Department Airport Division.
Assistant United States Attorneys Jawayria Z. Auchter and Michael Kennedy of the District of Utah are prosecuting the case.
As part of ongoing efforts to decrease baggage thefts at airports, Salt Lake City Police Department and the Salt Lake City International Airport say the best way to prevent theft is to ensure your bag is never left unattended. Recognizing that flying with carry-on bags is not always feasible, SLCPD recommends the following tips as travelers enter the holiday and ski season in the beehive state:
Place irreplaceable or high value items in your carry-on baggage (Note: Passengers must know which items are required to be checked or prohibited from being checked or brought onto an aircraft).
Reconsider purchasing luxury-branded luggage as this could be an allure to potential thieves.
Make your checked luggage distinctive using stickers, tape, ribbon or consider purchasing a brightly colored suitcase.
Keep a record of what you pack and take a photo of your belongings and your luggage. Photos can be helpful during a police investigation and for insurance purposes.
After landing, avoid unnecessary delays and head to the baggage pick-up area immediately so your bag is not left unattended when on the baggage carousel.
Ensure your bag is clearly labeled with your contact information. For privacy reasons, an address is not necessary, but a name and phone number should be included.
If you believe someone has stolen your luggage, be sure to file a police report and file reports with the airline and TSA.
Report anything suspicious to an airport/airline official or airport police.
The Salt Lake City Police Department’s Airport Division continues to conduct proactive operations to curb baggage theft from Salt Lake City International Airport. Officers and detectives work closely with airline and airport staff to ensure the security of passenger luggage.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.