Mark Ernst only realised after getting home that he had accidentally taken the bag of a Tokyo Olympican from the carousel at LAX airport.
An unsuspecting American traveller has accidentally stolen the gold medal of a Tokyo Olympian.
Mark Ernst claimed in a viral TikTok video he unwittingly came into possession of the medal as a result of an unfortunate mixup at Los Angeles International Airport last week.
“I just Ubered back from LAX and realised I grabbed the wrong suitcase,” Mr Ernst told his viewers.
“I obviously didn’t mean to take theirs, but they got their suitcase at Costco which is probably where everyone and their freaking grandma gets their suitcase.”
The suitcase was black and by the brand Kirkland, which is exclusive to the wholesale retailer.
The bag’s only defining feature was a bright green name tag from the snowboarding brand 686, which some thought could suggest the medal’s owner competed in skateboarding.
Mr Ernst said he had ruled out American-born Australian skateboarder Keegan Palmer and had reached out to multiple other athletes, but with no success.
Other than the medal, the bag contained a pair of white and blue sport shoes and an assortment of male clothing.
“I’m honestly still in shock that this all happened and have no idea whose this [the medal] is. I don’t want to get accused of stealing it,” he said.
The medal “wasn’t even in a protective case or anything”, he added.
Mr Ernst said he had contacted the airport to report the incident as well as the airlines that operate out of it.
Still, five days on from uploading his video, he was no closer to reuniting the gold medal with the athlete who won it.
“I already reached out to a bunch of people and took some pictures and I really want to get this back to the rightful owner,” he said.
Many viewers urged Mr Ernst to deliver the bag back to the airport and leave it up to staff to return it to the correct person.
Others said the sport should have been written on the edge of the medal, allowing him to look up the athletes that won gold.
Mr Ernst didn’t confirm if he knew which sport the medal was won in, which some speculated was because the medal was fake, and the video was made to boost his popularity.
Some suggested that whoever owned it was possibly in quarantine after arriving back in the country.