Pair gets jail for stealing luggage amid chaos of Asiana jet crash

A couple who stole stranded luggage from passengers diverted away from San Francisco International Airport last year because of the Asiana Airlines crash have been sentenced to jail.

Sean Sharif Crudup, 44, and Raychas Elizabeth Thomas, 32 -- both Richmond residents who worked for United Airlines -- pleaded no contest to grand theft and possessing stolen property and were sentenced this week to nine months and six months in jail, respectively, said San Mateo County Dist. Atty. Steve Wagstaffe.

Both were also given three years’ probation and ordered to pay about $6,000 in restitution, the majority of it to Nordstrom department store.

Surveillance video showed Crudup going into an airport baggage office at the airport, taking a piece of luggage, bringing it out and handing it to Thomas.


“Ms. Thomas had taken a bunch of the clothing to Nordstrom to sell it back,” Wagstaffe said at the time of the couple’s arrest. “A search warrant was issued for their home in Richmond, and a large number of the items were found there.”

Crudup and Thomas were arrested at the airport where the thefts occurred. They were heading to Hawaii on July 25, 2013 -- Crudup’s birthday, three days before Thomas’.

“Thievery when no one’s around, I find it deplorable, especially if they’re taking advantage of a case like this.... I find it a serious breach of trust,” Wagstaffe said last year.

The victims in the case were flying to San Francisco from the Cayman Islands. Their luggage contained several pieces of jewelry and clothes worth about $30,000.


But the victims’ plane was diverted, Wagstaffe said in an interview, first to Houston and finally to Los Angeles, where they rented a car to drive north. But when they arrived at the luggage area at SFO, their baggage was nowhere to be found. The prosecutor did not identify the victims.

The Asiana crash last year killed three young Chinese students who were aboard Flight 214 and injured nearly 200 other passengers and crew members. It also wreaked havoc on airline operations in the Bay Area for several days, canceling outgoing flights and causing a large number of incoming flights to be diverted.

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