A search is under way in South Florida for a man who made a very untimely decision to take a $6,500 Rolex watch left behind by a fellow passenger traveling from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
New video released Tuesday shows the man picking up the stainless steel and gold watch from a plastic bin as he passed through a Transportation Security Administration security checkpoint at the airport on Jan. 18.
Officials from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said the watch was mistakenly left behind by 43-year-old Gloria de Regalado who was preparing to fly home after a South Florida vacation. De Regalado realized her mistake 30 minutes later and returned to retrieve the Rolex, but by that time the watch was gone.
The surveillance video shows the man noticing the watch on his way to collect his belongings after he stepped away to tie his shoes. Instead of notifying TSA officials, he looked around, grabbed the watch, put it in his backpack alongside his laptop and walked off.
“This is no mistake; it was deliberate,” Lt. Brian Montgomery of the Broward Sheriff’s Office told local ABC affiliate WPLG.
Police believe the man may have boarded a US Airways flight to Charlotte, N.C. They plan to subpoena passengers on that flight in hopes of finding the suspect. There is also a $1,000 reward for his arrest.
“There are good people and there are bad people, and unfortunately, the person behind me in line that day was bad,” de Regalado told WPLG of her ordeal.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Broward Sheriff’s Office’s airport detectives at 954-359-1201 or Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-8477.