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Luggage mix-up mystery may lead to Charlottesville

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 6:28 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A Florida man has been playing detective the past few days and the clues are leading him to Charlottesville. At the center of the case is an unintended mix up that had him carrying the wrong bag off a plane.

Michael Tan accidentally carried-off the wrong carry-on in Charlotte. Now he’s trying to find the person who has a matching mistake. The flight came from Salt Lake City, Utah.

“I got to Gainesville, I got home I put my bag on the floor and then I opened it up and I realized that the stuff inside was not mine,” Tan said.

Tan accidentally grabbed a suitcase that was identical to his. A bright red Swiss brand carry on bag. But he says it’s probably 15-17 years old, so the Swiss emblem is a bit discolored. He says the bag he took has the same feature.

“It looks exactly like the same one with a very small exception of like a luggage buckle on there, which mine did not have,” Tan said. “But I didn’t even think about that. You know, I mean there was this split second where I thought, ‘I don’t remember that being on there before’ but I didn’t really think more than that.”

In hindsight, Michael wishes he did, and he wishes he had a luggage tag too. Both suitcases do not have any sort of name on them.

“I went through the entire bag, hoping to find some sort of identifying information because I wanted to, you know, selfishly I want my bag back,” Tan said. “And of course, I would like this person to get their bag back, so I went through everything. I could not find any identifying information.”

That is, except for two clues: the keys to a Subaru and a shirt for Charlottesville Area Trail Runners. That’s when Michael got to digging. He searched through all of the American Airlines flights, to find one that transferred from Charlotte to Charlottesville. He found flight AA5266, but he says the airline could not connect him with the other passenger.

He didn’t stop there. He looked into the sponsors on the shirt and found the running club’s information. He then contacted the organization.

“I told my wife I felt like a detective. But I have a picture in my brain of the type of people they are because it’s people, there’s men’s and women’s clothes in there. They obviously enjoy the outdoors.”

Michael says the Charlottesville Area Trail Running group reached out Monday trying to connect him with the runner they think has his bag.

He says he responded immediately, but still has not heard anything.

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