At Times, Pretended To Be Airline Porter
A 46-year-old Far Rockaway man has pleaded guilty to third- and fourth-degree grand larceny for stealing passenger luggage from malls, restaurants and other areas of several different terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport on six occasions between 2011 and 2012.
Frederick McDonald, 46, of Grassmere Terrace in Far Rockaway, pleaded guilty yesterday before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt to four counts of third-degree grand larceny and two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny.
Sentencing was set for Aug. 15, at which time Justice Chin-Brandt indicated that she would sentence Mc- Donald to an indeterminate term of three to six years in prison as a predicate felon.
According to the guilty plea, between Sept. 22, 2011 and Feb. 27, 2012, McDonald committed the following:
– On Sept. 22, 2011, outside of JFK Airport’s Terminal 8, McDonald stole a briefcase containing a laptop computer and $4,000 in U.S. and foreign currency while the victim was paying a taxi driver.
– On Jan. 22 of this year, inside of Terminal 5, McDonald pretended to be a JetBlue Airlines porter and offered to help the victim by pushing her luggage cart containing a pocketbook, luggage and a carry-on bag. When the victim turned to attend to her five-year-old son, who had fallen, McDonald stole the cart.
It was later recovered but among the items missing from the cart were an iPad, $6,000 in U.S. currency, a camera and a set of passports.
– On Feb. 10, inside of Terminal 4, McDonald stole a pocketbook containing U.S. and foreign currency, a cell phone and a credit card from a luggage cart outside of a restroom while the victim used the restroom.
– On Feb. 21, inside of the Caviar House restaurant located inside of Terminal 4, McDonald stole a briefcase that the victim had placed underneath his chair. The bag contained an iPad, a laptop computer and $500 in U.S. currency.
– On Feb. 25, inside of Terminal 8, McDonald snuck up behind a man traveling with his wife and elderly mother-in-law and when they were not looking he took a lap top computer and a small bag containing $2,200 and medication.
– On Feb. 27, inside of Terminal 4, while the victim was at a counter purchasing a ticket McDonald swiped his laptop computer and a backpack containing a cell phone, a digital camera, and $2,500 in U.S. currency from a luggage cart right behind the victim.
Upon noticing a pattern of thefts, the Port Authority Police Department viewed hundreds of hours of video surveillance footage and ultimately recovered footage of McDonald committing the crimes or rifling through the stolen luggage.
“Traveling through the airports is stressful enough these days without having to worry that if you turn your back for a moment a thief who is lurking about will steal your luggage,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “This is exactly how the defendant operated – snatching luggage filled with thousands of dollars in cash, electronics and other valuables as soon as the victimized passengers were distracted. Based on the defendant’s own admissions, the sentence promised by the Court- three to six years in state prison- is more than justified.”
The investigation was conducted by Port Authority Police Department Detectives Brandie Jones, Dewan Maharaj and Thomas Eddings under the supervision of Detective Lieutenant Michael Milne.
Assistant District Attorney Catherine C. Kane, Chief of the Airport Investigations Unit, is prosecuting the case, under the supervision of Gerard A. Brave, Bureau Chief of the District Attorney’s Rackets Bureau, and Mark L. Katz, Deputy Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Assistant District Attorney Linda M. Cantoni, Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations.