By Philip Newman
Seven John F. Kennedy International Airport baggage handlers, including four from Queens, have been charged with stealing thousands of dollars in valuables from El Al Israeli airlines passengers’ luggage, the Queens district attorney said.
DA Richard Brown said El Al, after numerous complaints about pilfering from passengers’ bags, installed a video camera in the baggage hold of a jetliner, which allegedly caught the defendants removing items from checked luggage with some of the accused stuffing their pockets with purloined valuables.
“When air travelers check their luggage with an airline, there is an implicit trust that their bags and contents will meet them at their destinations,” Brown said. “It is always disheartening as a traveler to find their trust to be broken. I applaud El Al Airlines for taking customer complaints seriously and helping to bring the defendants to justice.”
Brown identified the defendants as Tristan Bredwood, 22, of St. Albans; Udhoo Doodnauth, 27, of Richmond Hill; Julio Salas, 44, of Corona; Oshane Christie of Rosedale; Nikosi Cunningham, 24, of Brooklyn; Dashawn Schooler, 25, of Wyandanch, L.I.; and Romaine Smith, 25, of Brooklyn.
All were arraigned Aug. 29 on separate criminal complaints in which they were variously charged with degrees of grand larceny; criminal possession of stolen property; criminal mischief; petit larceny; and attempted petit larceny.
Bredwood, Doodnauth, Salas, and Christie were ordered held on $1,000 bail, while Smith and Cunningham were released without bail.
All were ordered to be in court Sept. 18 except for Smith, Sallas and Cunningham, who are to appear in court on later dates.
Items allegedly stolen from luggage aboard an El Al 747 jet that regularly flies between JFK and Tel Aviv included a $5,000 Seiko watch, a Cartier watch, numerous bottles of cologne, expensive cameras and a Sony PlayStation among many other possessions, some of which were allegedly recovered from the homes of the defendants, the DA said.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 718-260-4536.