Five baggage handlers at JFK Airport have been charged with stealing thousands of dollars worth of money orders and checks bound for Asia, as well as stealing credit cards and using them to purchase items such as iPads.
District Attorney Richard Brown said Anthony Austin, 26, of Hollis, Ariel Weaver, 20, of South Ozone Park, Alexander Fluellen, 29, and Samuel Wright, 31, both of Brooklyn, were arraigned last Thursday on separate criminal complaints in which they were variously charged with third- and fourth-degree grand larceny, third-, fourth- and fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny and first- and second-degree burglary.
According to the criminal complaint, the five men, who worked at JFK Airport’s postal handling facility, allegedly stole checks and money orders worth anywhere from $100 and $1,000 being sent through overseas mail to Japan, China and Korea between July 2013 and February 2014. The suspects, who worked at Terminal 7 where Cathay Pacific Airlines flights to Asia depart, are accused of then depositing the checks into their own bank accounts, sometimes writing their own names over the names of the intended recipients. Brown estimated the total amount stolen at $27,000.
The suspects also allegedly stole credit cards that were being mailed to people overseas and using them at Best Buy kiosks at JFK Airport to buy iPads and Samsung Galaxy tablets.
“Included among the items allegedly stolen from the mail were money orders mailed by a member of the armed services and in another instance, checks intended for child support,” Brown noted in a press release. “It is alarming that these defendants were allegedly using U.S. mailbags as grab bags to satisfy their own greed.”
Port Authority police and U.S. postal inspectors were investigating reports of stolen checks and credit cards when they uncovered the alleged thefts.