The suspects were successful on several occasions before being caught, the police official said on condition of anonymity because of department rules. The accomplice would place the contortionist thief inside the cargo bay of a bus running from the airport in the city of Girona south to Barcelona, board the bus and then retrieve him at the end of the line.
During the 60-mile (100-kilometer) ride, the man would slip out of the suitcase and use a sharp object to pick locks or open zippers to get into other people's luggage, police said. He stole objects including cell phones, laptops and GPS devices and would place them in a smaller bag that he brought with him. The thief would then get back into the larger suitcase and when the bus reached its destination, the accomplice would retrieve both pieces of luggage.
Police were alerted by bus riders who reported items stolen from their baggage.