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JFK baggage handlers stole from traveler: DA

Brian Burton (l.) and Antwon Simmons admitted to stealing personal items from luggage at JFK Airport. Photos courtesy of the Queens DA's office
By Ivan Pereira

A pair of John F. Kennedy International Airport workers admitted last week to stealing personal items from a traveler’s luggage, the Queens district attorney said.

Brian Burton, 27, a Transportation Security Agency officer, and Antwon Simmons, 26, a baggage handler, were caught stealing a laptop and a cell phone during a routine integrity test conducted by the TSA, JFK Airport and Delta Airlines, according to Queens DA Richard Brown.

“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,” he said in a statement.

“In this case, the defendants admitted that they betrayed that trust and, in the process, tarnished the reputation of their employers and other baggage handlers who faithfully carry out their responsibilities each day.”

The incident took place July 7, 2009, at the Delta terminal, according to Brown. Burton stole a laptop and Simmons took a T-Mobile Sidekick from luggage that was being checked for a Delta flight to Miami, the DA said.

The pair switched tags with another piece of luggage to conceal their theft, according to Brown. The entire incident was caught on surveillance cameras.

The two pleaded guilty to falsifying business records, petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property last Thursday, the DA said. Queens Supreme Court Justice Steven Paynter indicated he would sentence both men to 45 days in jail and five years’ probation May 11, according to Brown.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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