A Corona man was convicted of trying to steal Grammy and Academy Award-winning singer and songwriter John Legend’s luggage last year, prosecutors announced on Tuesday.
Agustin Hilario, 64, was convicted of third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said that Hilario is due to return to court on March 12 for sentencing, where he faces up to seven years in prison.
According to charges, on March 23, 2017, Legend arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport from France and was leaving Terminal 4 with a black Louis Vuitton carry-on bag, which was on a luggage cart. The luggage cart was momentarily left unattended and when someone went to get the cart, it was gone.
Security footage revealed that Hilario pushed the cart away from the area before taking the black Louis Vuitton bag. Hilario managed to drive away from the airport with the bag.
Port Authority police responded to the scene and identified Hilario in the security footage. They tried to call Hilario’s cellphone and when that was unsuccessful, a police officer called a friend of the Hilario’s to try and reach him. Hilario called back and promised to return the bag to the airport.
Heilario did not return the bag at the designated time and had to be contacted again. Upon his arrest, Hilario stated, in sum and substance, “I know I should not have taken it. I made a mistake.”
The stolen bag, which alone was worth $3,000, contained articles of Legend’s clothing, personal items and a small box of cufflinks, including a pair of Cartier panther-head cufflinks valued between $25,000 and $30,000. According to Legend, the cufflinks 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 she’d spent a lot of time looking for them.
Hilario did return the bag to Port Authority, and Legend was reunited with his possessions.
“The defendant, who is known to airport personnel, was quickly identified through surveillance video footage by Port Authority Police and contacted in regards to the swiped bag,” Brown said. “A jury — after weighing all the evidence and hearing the testimony of the victim John Legend — today rendered a guilty verdict in the case. The defendant now faces prison time for his actions.”