By Gina Martinez
A Corona man has been convicted for stealing singer John Legend’s luggage from JFK last March, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
A jury found 64-year-old Agustin Hilario guilty of criminally possessing the carry-on Louis Vuitton luggage, which contained clothing, toiletries and an expensive pair of Cartier panther-head cuff links. Brown said Hilario rolled the bag away after it was left unattended on a cart at Terminal 4 at Kennedy Airport.
After a week-long trial that included testimony from Legend, a jury found Hilario guilty of third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Queens Supreme Court Justice Ira Margulis set sentencing for March 12, at which time Hilario faces up to seven years in prison.
According to Brown, the Grammy-winning singer returned to New York City from France March 23 and was leaving Terminal 4 when his Louis Vuitton carry-on bag was left unattended on a luggage cart. Brown said security footage of the terminal showed Hilario approaching the cart and pushing it away from the area before he took the black leather bag and drove away from the airport with the luggage.
Brown said Hilario was identified by a Port Authority police officer who recognized him from the footage and tried calling him on his mobile phone.
When he could not get in contact with Hilario, a police officer called a friend of his and Hilario responded and promised to return the bag to the airport. Brown said he did not return the bag when he said he would and had to be contacted again. According to Brown, when Hilario was arrested he told police, “I know I should not have taken it. I made a mistake.”
Legend testified in court that the cuff links were very special to him because his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, had given him the diamond and green stone accessories as an anniversary gift and that she had spent a lot of time looking for them. Brown said Legend told the jury his high school mascot was a panther and that he estimated the value of the cuff links to be between $25,000 and $30,000. According to Brown, the Louis Vuitton bag alone is worth around $3,000. Hilario did eventually return the bag and its contents to Port Authority Police, who reunited Legend with his belongings.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart