RALEIGH — The man charged last week with stealing a bag from the airport and leading police on a high-speed chase now is accused of previous luggage thefts.
Christian Marquez Lewis, 24, was arrested Dec. 10. Police say he snatched luggage from a carousel, left Raleigh-Durham International Airport in a 2009 Ford Focus with officers in pursuit, and flipped across Glenwood Avenue after he lost control at about 75 mph.
On Tuesday, he was charged with luggage thefts dating to Nov. 20 and Oct. 29. Lewis, of 5809 Parkchester Road in Raleigh, is accused of taking about $4,100 worth of goods in the incidents, and $2,400 worth in last week’s suspected theft, according to arrest warrants.
Rhonda Kosor, of Wake Forest, was one of the reported victims. She and a friend had just arrived at RDU from Las Vegas on Nov. 20, she said. She left her friend to pick up her black bag from the carousel – and a man took the bag from in front of her friend, she said.
They notified airport authorities of the theft, but airport police couldn’t find the man. It hurt to know about $3,500 of her nicest clothing had been taken, but Kosor let it go.
“I never thought any more about it,” she said. Then she saw a news article about the catastrophic car chase, which ended with Lewis’ vehicle somersaulting across a median on Glenwood Avenue, without hitting any other vehicles.
On Tuesday, police told Kosor, a Wake Forest auto dealer and real-estate agent, that they’d found her empty bag in a local parking deck. She hasn’t received any of her clothes or any repayment yet, though police have told her she may be eligible for restitution down the line.
For now, she said, it’s a bizarre story to tell.
“I haven’t taken a big vacation like that in a long time,” she said. “Why me? Well, why not me?”
A week after his arrest, Lewis is being held at the Wake County Detention Center without bond. He faces two felony larceny charges, a misdemeanor larceny charge, and a felony charge of fleeing or eluding arrest, according to county records.
He previously pleaded guilty in 2008 to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon and in 2012 to financial card theft, according to criminal records.
Kenney: 919-829-4870; Twitter: @KenneyNC