Six people, including two former airport workers, have been indicted for allegedly stealing more than $6 million worth of designer merchandise, including Chanel handbags and jewelry, using tractor-trailers in a series of complex heists at John F. Kennedy Airport this year, prosecutors in Queens announced Thursday.
The two primary defendants, identified as 33-year-old David Lacarriere and 43-year-old Gary McArthur, are both truckers who formerly worked at JFK and allegedly used their "inside knowledge" to coordinate the heists. Gucci purses, sunglasses, sneakers and clothing, along with Prada bags, ready-to-wear and accessories were among the loot allegedly lifted from the airport since January.
According to the indictment, Lacarriere allegedly went to the receiving office for an air cargo importer on Jan. 31 and showed a forged document with an airway bill and flight details for a Prada shipment. He and McArthur, who allegedly enlisted the assistance of two others, then loaded four pallets of Prada merchandise onto a tractor-trailer and drove off, prosecutors said. That heist netted them about $804,000 in Prada bags, clothes and accessories.
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The truck involved in the robbery was found a few days later, but it was empty -- and the interior had been doused in bleach.
The crew allegedly repeated the same routine in a separate JFK heist on May 17. One allegedly posed as a truck driver while another presented another forged document -- and the group made off with five air freight pallets containing thousands of Chanel and Gucci items worth more than $4.4 million.
That tractor-trailer was also recovered a few days later, once again with an interior drenched in bleach. Shipping tags and display cases were also still inside.
In June, prosecutors say police tracked down the crew members to a nonoperational beauty salon they say was used as a stash house for the stolen goods. When cops got a warrant to search it, they interrupted a sale of more than $300,000 in stolen designer goods, according to the indictment. During a separate search, they recovered more than 3,000 Gucci items and over 1,000 Chanel products worth an estimated $2.5 million or more.
Four men, including Lacarriere and McArthur, are in custody in the alleged scheme and two other co-conspirators are still being sought. They are all variously charged in a 22-count indictment with grand larceny, conspiracy, criminal possession of stolen property and other crimes. The two alleged ringleaders both face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Attorney information wasn't available.