A prominent Indian-American hotelier, who has been a business partner of US President Donald Trump’s family, has admitted to stealing for the “thrill” of it after being caught taking someone else’s luggage at an American airport.
Dinesh Chawla told a police officer “that he knows stealing luggage is wrong, but does it for the excitement”.
The police statement also said that Chawla had confessed to stealing other luggage “over a long period of time”, the New York Times reported.
The CEO of Chawla Hotels, a firm that owns 17 hotels in Mississippi, was seen on August 18 on Memphis airport’s CCTV cameras taking the suitcase from a baggage claim conveyor belt, putting it in his car and then returning to board a flight.
While Chawla was away, police found a second piece of luggage in his SUV that was stolen from the airport on July 16.
Chawla was arrested last Thursday after flying back to Memphis. The hotelier, who confessed to stealing the items worth $3,900, has now been released on a $5,000 bail.
The recurrent urge to steal, even in the absence of any need, has been labelled kleptomania and many celebrities have been caught in the act. For instance, US actor Winona Ryder was convicted for shoplifting clothes in 2001.
Chawla, whose court hearing is set for Friday, and his brother are constructing a hotel in Cleveland, a joint venture with the Trump Organization.
The Trumps withdrew in February blaming Democrats but had praised the Chawlas.