A witness told authorities they saw Cyrus Zachariah Shepherd-Oppenheim, 22, take items out of the luggage, police said.
This allegedly happened on a United Airways Flight from San Francisco into Philadelphia. Shepherd-Oppenheim was traveling back to school at the University of Pennsylvania following winter break.
"Another individual let the complainant know that they believe that the defendant had taken some items from that bag," said Philadelphia Police Lt. Frank Venore. "[The individual] didn't know that wasn't his bag at that time."
A camera belonging to one of the victims was found on Cyrus' seat and the rest of her missing items were found in a trash can in one of the plane's lavatories, police said.
Money and documents were taken from the second victim's luggage and his travel folder was also found in the lavatory trash can.
Shepherd's son was arrested and taken to the holding cell at the airport where the police say those missing documents were later recovered.
Police took custody of Shepherd-Oppenheim after 5:30 a.m. and in their news release said the stolen items included, "a Cannon digital camera, leather make-up case, small travel bag and United States Currency."
"We had enough probable cause with the witness identification and the complainant statements along with the evidence recovered to charge him," said Venore.
Shepherd-Oppenheim was charged with two counts of theft, which are misdemeanor charges.
The young man's council, Philadelphia defense attorney Bill Brennan, said the charges are "serious, but minor."
"As things shake out, it is my belief that there may be no criminality here whatsoever," Brennan said.