Seven men who worked as contract baggage handlers at JFK Airport have been charged with stealing cash, jewelry and electronics from passenger luggage.
Following multiple customer complaints of theft to El Al Airlines, the Israeli carrier the men were working for at the time, a camera was installed in the baggage hold, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.
The men, who were responsible for unloading and loading bags, were allegedly caught on video going through luggage, removing items, and placing them in their pockets and down their pants. The surveillance took place between early April and late August of this year.
In interviews with Port Authority Police officials, according to Brown, the men variously admitted to taking goods from passenger luggage and thousands of dollars of stolen items were recovered from some of their homes and cars.
Those goods allegedly included iPhones, iPads, Sony Playstations, digital cameras, Valentino sunglasses, bottles of cologne, several expensive watches and other pricey jewelry items.
“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,” said Brown. “I applaud El Al Airlines for taking its customer complaints seriously and helping to bring the defendants to justice.”
The busted baggage handlers, identified as Tristan Bredwood, 22, of Saint Albans, Udhoo Doodnauth, 27, of Richmond Hill, Julio Salas, 44, of Corona, Dashawn Schooler, 25, of Wyandanch, New York, Romaine Smith, 25, of Brooklyn, Oshaine Christie, 22, of Rosedale, and Nkosi Cunningham, 24, of Brooklyn, were arraigned on Thursday, August 29 in Queens Criminal Court and charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, criminal mischief, petit larceny and attempted petit larceny.