Man steals $70K in surgical equipment from Daytona Beach baggage claim



A Port Orange man is accused of stealing $70,000 worth of surgical equipment by swiping someone's luggage after a flight Sunday.

Police said the man accused in the theft, Michael Schmidt, had been sitting right next to his victim, on a flight to Daytona Beach International Airport.

He even struck up a conversation with the victim, claiming he was a tattoo artist, police said.

Deputies said he just wanted to steal the victim's luggage, and it's not the first time he has done it.

Surveillance pictures show Schmidt on two different occasions stealing luggage at the Daytona Beach International Airport.

One victim, Scott Selders, recognized him in a picture.

"I saw the guy take my bag and it was the guy who was sitting right next to me on the plane," Selders said.

Video showed Schmidt steal a garment bag on June 10.

Video from Sunday shows Schmidt with Selders' bag of equipment he needed for a spinal surgery.

Selders was shocked because Schmidt talked to him on the plane Sunday.

"The whole way he was chattering about the fact that he flies out here three times a week to do specialized tattoos on people," Selders said.

Officials said Schmidt was confused by the surgical equipment when he brought it back to his Port Orange apartment.

"He didn't know what this was all about and didn't know quite what to do with it, so he zipped it back up and put it in the parking lot of his apartment complex and just left it," said Brandon Haught with Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies received a call from an employee at Schmidt's apartment complex, but they already knew who he was. Through Selders, they identified him using the passenger manifest and had all of his personal information.

Schmidt claimed he accidentally grabbed the bags, but investigators also knew through the airline that he never checked in a bag himself.