A Belgian couple accused of stealing luggage on multiple occasions from a Las Vegas airport entered not guilty pleas during their October 26 arraignment hearings in Mohave County Superior Court in Kingman. Kristof De Smet, 39, and Sandy De Backer, 36, of Kerksken, Belgium are charged with theft.
Prosecutor Kimberly Melde said the Arizona charge is associated with the stolen property confiscated when the pair were arrested October 7 in Lake Havasu City. De Smet and De Backer were wanted on fugitive from justice warrants issued in Nevada at the time of their arrests.
The Las Vegas Metro Police Department detective working the case declined to answer questions, indicating the matters are still under investigation. The detective contacted Lake Havasu City police on October 3 requesting assistance in locating the suspects.
A probable cause affidavit indicated that the suspects were identified through surveillance video, stealing luggage from carousels at an unidentified Las Vegas airport. The affidavit said the couple would secure their luggage before picking up bags belonging to others.
Lake Havasu City police told local media that an investigation determined that the couple had stolen luggage from other passengers during at least three flights from Belgium to Las Vegas over an 18-month period.
Court records stated that use of social media helped authorities locate the suspects in Arizona. The suspects reportedly indicated on social media that they usually visited Lake Havasu for the annual international jet ski boat races held in the fall.
The records said investigators found one post that revealed the home they had rented for a 30 day stay for this year’s jet ski races. Lake Havasu police said they recovered a stolen suitcase, clothing purses and other personal effects belonging to others during a search of the property at the Crazy Horse Campground.
A seizure list did not indicate confiscation of any jewelry or cash but noted some high end personal clothing and accessory items such as a Louis Vuitton handbag. One or more of the stolen items reportedly belonged to a Pennsylvania woman.
An interpretor translated English to Dutch during the arraignment hearing. De Smet and De Backer are held in the county jail onf $75,000 bond pending case management conferences scheduled November 16.