The person walked into an workplace at Kennedy Worldwide Airport with paperwork that confirmed the flight data and serial numbers he wanted to choose up an costly cargo. Every little thing gave the impression to be so as, and he drove off with a truckload of Prada.
However the baggage, clothes and jewellery by no means made it to their vacation spot. As an alternative, they have been taken to a defunct magnificence store in Queens, prosecutors mentioned.
On Wednesday, the person, David Lacarriere, and two others appeared in court docket to face expenses in a 22-count indictment in one of many largest heists within the historical past of J.F.Ok. airport. Prosecutors mentioned they stole $6 million value of luxurious items in two thefts — the second extra brazen than the primary — that had echoes of the famous Lufthansa robbery in 1978 that performed a starring function within the movie “Goodfellas.”
It turned out the lads had used faux paperwork to cart off greater than 4,000 actual items of luxurious merchandise, prosecutors mentioned. They have been caught in June when the police raided the Candi World Magnificence Bar, the closed salon the place the stolen merchandise was stashed, and interrupted a sale, prosecutors mentioned.
“After months of free spending and doubtless pondering that that they had gotten away with these audacious heists,” mentioned Melinda Katz, the Queens County district legal professional, “all six defendants have been indicted.”
Prosecutors mentioned they stole $804,000 value of Prada merchandise in January, after which in Might, they hauled off $5.3 million in different high-end equipment, from Gucci sneakers and socks to Chanel espadrilles, necklaces and purses.
Seth Koslow, a lawyer for Mr. Lacarriere, 33, mentioned on Friday that the fees have been a “shock” to Mr. Lacarriere.
“He didn’t know this was coming,” Mr. Koslow mentioned. “We intend to battle this.”
Attorneys for the opposite males charged within the scheme couldn’t be reached.
Prosecutors gave few particulars about how the lads got here collectively to tug off the alleged thefts, however Mr. Lacarriere and one other defendant, Gary McArthur, 43, had each beforehand labored as truck drivers at J.F.Ok. Davon Davis, the opposite man who appeared in court docket on Wednesday, had labored at Delta Airways.
All three males pleaded not responsible in State Supreme Court docket in Queens on Wednesday. They face a slew of expenses together with grand larceny, conspiracy, possession of stolen property and possession of a solid instrument.
In 2016, Mr. Lacarriere pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal about $700,000 value of Chanel and Hermes clothes, jewellery and baggage, amongst different objects, from Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport.
That case was strikingly just like the newest scheme: The authorities mentioned Mr. Lacarriere and one other man used a solid doc to enter a cargo space on the airport in New Jersey and drive a truckload of merchandise to a facility close to Kennedy Airport.
When the house owners of the Chanel and Hermes items got here to choose them up, the airport realized they have been lacking and tracked the truck by way of a GPS system.
Mr. Lacarriere spent a few 12 months in New Jersey State Jail earlier than his launch in January 2018, based on state information.
About two years later, he and Mr. McArthur confirmed up on the enterprise workplace of an airport cargo warehouse, officers mentioned. Earlier than arriving, Mr. Lacarriere had falsified an airport doc itemizing particular bundle data and serial numbers, which prosecutors described as a complicated and sophisticated forgery.
The boys, enlisting the assistance of two others, then used a separate tractor-trailer to load 4 giant pallets of Prada merchandise onto their truck, officers mentioned. Lower than 4 months later, the lads returned for the upper stakes model of their theft, presenting one other set of solid paperwork.
After each journeys to Kennedy Worldwide, prosecutors mentioned the lads later deserted the vans on roads, drenched them in bleach and took the merchandise to Candi World.
When the police raided the salon in June, officers found lots of of stacked packing containers full of merchandise, nonetheless neatly wrapped within the producers’ packaging and baggage.
Through the raid, the police interrupted a sale to Alan Vu, 51, prosecutors mentioned. Mr. Vu was arrested in New Jersey on expenses of legal possession of stolen property and conspiracy, and is awaiting switch to New York. His lawyer couldn’t be reached for remark.
Matthew Wilson, chief of the Port Authority Felony Investigations Bureau, referred to as the case “an anomaly” on Friday, saying the defendants had been elaborate of their planning and the investigation had taken time consequently.
“It doesn’t occur that usually,” Mr. Wilson mentioned.
Ms. Katz mentioned J.F.Ok. has added new protocols for cargo pickups, together with extra identification necessities and photographing of truck drivers. She mentioned the scenario underscores the necessity to proceed intently monitoring safety at one of many world’s busiest airports.
“My idea is that if you may get issues out of the airport, you can too get issues in,” Ms. Katz mentioned. “So that is a part of an ongoing safety examine to verify our air journey is secure and that individuals are assured.”