Seven baggage handlers at JFK International Airport face grand larceny and other charges after allegedly stealing thousands of dollars worth of items from El Al passenger luggage, according to the Queens District Attorney.
After multiple complaints of passengers both coming and going on the Israeli airline, officials put a camera in the baggage hold and recorded the workers pillaging suitcases, the DA said.
“When air travelers check their luggage with an airline, there is an implicit trust that their bags and their contents will meet them at their destination. It is always disheartening as a traveler to find that trust to be broken. I applaud El Al Airlines for taking its customer complaints seriously and helping to bring the defendants to justice,” said District Attorney Brown
According to the DA, the handlers were recorded — often wearing gloves — pulling jewelry, cash, watches, computers and other items from the luggage and stuffing them in their pockets and down their pants. Investigators recovered a $5,000 Seiko watch, cologne, Valentino sunglasses, 13 other watches and a Sony Playstation. At another workers house, they found an iPad mini, two iPhones, an iPad, three gold rings, a gold chain with a pendant and a par of silver earrings with white stones.
The baggage workers were arraigned Thursday and charged with varying counts of grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, fourth-degree criminal mischief, petit larceny and attempted petit larceny.