A former Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener at JFK Airport has been charged with the theft of a passenger’s $7,000 diamond watch, according to prosecutors.
Margo Grant-Louree, 41, of Montauk Avenue in Brooklyn, allegedly picked up the watch of Bindoo Ahluwalia after he forgot to retrieve it from a plastic bin at the Terminal 7 security checkpoint on Aug. 26, authorities said.
Video surveillance shows that Grant-Louree—who was assigned to that checkpoint at the time—picked up the watch and walked away.
According to the criminal complaint, Grant-Louree allegedly admitted to taking the timepiece into the bathroom and became nervous when she saw coworkers searching for the watch upon her return. She then left the area again and is alleged to have destroyed the watch, which had a round face and was covered in white diamonds.
Grant-Louree resigned from her TSA position soon after the incident. She was arraigned on Sept. 3 on charges of third-degree larceny and official misconduct. She was released on her own recognizance, and if convicted faces up to seven years in prison.
“The defendant was supposed to be screening passengers to ensure the safety of the flying public, but on this particular day this employee allegedly removed a very expensive watch from a plastic bin and kept it for herself,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said. “This kind of thievery will not be tolerated at our airports.”
Port Authority Chief Security Officer Thomas Belfiore commended the agency’s law enforcement partners at the TSA and Queens District Attorney’s Office for closing the case.
“The successful conclusion of this investigation would not have been possible without their cooperation,” Belfiore said. “Collectively we will not tolerate a violation of trust by those expected to protect us.”