A prominent Delta businessman is facing serious charges after he allegedly stole luggage from the Memphis airport, a Memphis television station has reported.
Dinesh Chawla, CEO of Greenwood-based Chawla Hotels, is charged with felony theft of property, according to WREG.
Arrest records show Chawla was seen taking a suitcase off the baggage claim belt on Sunday. Police say he put the bag in his vehicle, then returned to the airport to catch a flight.
While he was away, police towed his car and say they found several bags that had been stolen, containing thousands of dollars worth of items.
Chawla was then arrested Thursday when he returned to Memphis.
Police say, according to WREG, that Chawla gave a statement to investigators admitting that he had stolen the luggage.
Chawla, an immigrant from India who grew up in Greenwood, has lived in Cleveland for many years. He and his younger brother, Suresh, have built a business that their father, the late Dr. V.K. Chawla, started with one hotel in 1989 into the largest lodging company in Mississippi. The brothers either solely or jointly own 17 hotels in the Delta, with another under construction in Cleveland, The Lyric.
The brothers made national news in 2017 when it was announced that they were partnering with two of Donald Trump’s sons, Eric and Donald Jr., on four hotels in Mississippi, including converting The Lyric to the flagship property of a new four-star Scion brand.
The deal fell apart earlier this year, a collapse that Eric Trump blamed on the political climate.
The original version of this article misreported where Dinesh Chawla was born.