| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO May 14 A United Airlines customer
service representative and his wife were sentenced to jail time
for stealing unclaimed luggage from a flight that was diverted
after the fatal crash of an Asiana Airlines plane last year,
prosecutors said on Wednesday.
The luggage belonged to a couple whose flight had been
scheduled to arrive at San Francisco International Airport on
the day of the Asiana Airlines crash last July. Their flight was
diverted to another airport, but their suitcases were sent on to
Sean Sharif Crudup and his wife pleaded no contest to two
felony counts of grand theft and possession of stolen property
in March. Crudup was sentenced on Tuesday to nine months in
jail, while his wife received six months.
Both are currently out on bail and will serve their terms on
a staggered basis, San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe
said, adding that the sentences were more severe than usual
given the circumstances of the crime.
"They'd probably be getting a sentence about half, but this
was aggravated because they took advantage of a situation and
because they were airline employees," he said.
Prosecutors said video surveillance showed Crudup taking the
bags and handing them to his wife, Raychas Elizabeth Thomas, who
later unpacked the luggage and returned much of the clothing to
a Nordstrom department store in exchange for cash, taking
advantage of a liberal return policy.
The couple was ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution, $5,600
of which will go to Nordstrom. The remaining $400 will go to the
owners of the stolen luggage.
Three Chinese teenagers died and dozens of passengers were
injured when the Asiana Boeing 777 hit a seawall in front of the
runway, lost its tail and caught fire after skidding to a halt.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)