Foil-lined suitcases used in Orlando outlet store thefts



ORLANDO, Fla. - Tourists in the busy shopping corridors of Orlando often roll their suitcases around with them, but police said a local family used that idea to steal from stores.

Those tourists can be found all around the Premium Outlets, where Brazilian Cleiri Mazzara said everything is less-expensive, which is why he buys merchandise in Orlando and takes it back with him to Brazil.

But police said Claudia Torres, her son, Jonathan Rodriguez, and two others used similar suitcases, lined them with foil and used them to steal items from outlet stores.

The suitcases worked like aluminum-lined "booster bags," and shielded the stolen loot from the security sensors.

Police said the group started filling up suitcases inside the Tommy Hilfiger store before they got caught.

Police said the booster suitcases are harder to spot than the bags because you can line them, zip them closed and once you close them up, they look like any other suitcase.

When Channel 9's Jeff Deal stopped by Rodriguez's house, he confessed he helped steal from the stores.

"We're not persons like that, you know," he told Deal. "We did it because we had to."

"What do you mean you had to? Why?" asked Deal.

"We're persons that have to live, to pay bills," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said he's only been helping steal for a few weeks.

Store workers told police he confessed that was how the family made a living and said the stores have seen a recent increase in suitcases being used to conceal and steal merchandise.