By Courtney Dentch
A masked gunman hijacked an armored truck from Kennedy Airport Sunday night, snatching about $2.1 million in large bills but leaving behind another $1 million in smaller bills, police said.
The robber pulled a weapon on a driver of a Dunbar Armored Air Cargo Service truck just after 8 p.m. Sunday night, later ditched the vehicle in South Jamaica and fled on foot toward the Van Wyck Expressway, where police believe he hopped in a getaway car.
The loot from the heist makes it the largest theft at Kennedy Airport since 1978, when $6 million in cash and jewels was stolen from the Lufthansa Airlines terminal, a Port Authority spokesman said.
The truck was parked at a warehouse in the air cargo area at JFK, where the armored truck service leases space from the PA, said an agency spokesman. It had just been loaded with more than $3 million for delivery to several clients in the area, the spokesman said.
Armed with a 9mm gun and wearing a black ski mask, the robber held up the driver of the vehicle, the PA spokesman said. Two surveillance cameras directed at the truck failed to capture the hijacking on film, police said.
The vehicle was found abandoned at the intersection of 140th Street and 130th Avenue in South Jamaica at about 8:40 p.m., the PA spokesman said.
The gunman fled with the bulk of the money — about $2.1 million — but left another $1 million in the truck, police said. It was believed that the robber simply could not carry the rest of the money, police said.
The man ran through area backyards toward the Van Wyck Expressway, where police believe he may have stashed a getaway car. It was unclear if he had an accomplice waiting for him there.
No injuries were reported and no suspects had been apprehended as of Tuesday night, the PA spokesman said.
Details on the Dunbar employee who was held up were unavailable, and the company, based at Building 68 at Kennedy Airport, could not be reached for comment.
The New York Police Department and Port Authority Police were investigating the heist, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation field office at Kennedy Airport was also looking into the case, an FBI spokesman said.
Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.