FBI and Port Authority Police arrested a ramp worker at JFK International Airport in Jamaica on Thursday on charges of stealing a bag containing more than $250,000.
Authorities cuffed Quincy Thorpe, 40, at his Brooklyn home on Sept. 26 and he was arraigned in Brooklyn federal court later in the day.
According to the criminal complaint, an armored vehicle delivered eight bags of cash to the airport to be transported to Miami on Sept. 24. Federal authorities say Thorpe, a baggage handler for Delta Ground Services, was responsible for scanning and loading the eight bags onto the Delta flight.
When the baggage was off-loaded in Miami it was discovered one bag was missing. Federal prosecutors say the stolen bag contained bulk cash in U.S. and foreign currency of approximately $258,205 in value.
Security surveillance footage obtained from Delta shows Thorpe scanning and loading some of the eight bags onto Flight 1225 at Gate C-70, but not scanning the stolen bag, instead placing it in a container attached to a vehicle that he drove off in. Additionally, the other seven bags , which were loaded onto the plane, were scanned by a scanner with an identification unique to the defendant, according to the criminal complaint.
Thorpe further raised suspicion by calling in sick for the next two days. When questioned by FBI agents, Thorpe said he was responsible for loading bags onto Flight 1225 and knew that the bags he was loading had valuables, according to the criminal complaint.
Thorpe was released on $80,000 bond and as he came out of court proclaimed his innocence repeatedly to reporters.
His attorney Lonnie Hart told reporters, “My client denies the charges and we are looking forward to our day in court.”
In a statement from Delta Airlines, Thorpe’s alleged caper is “unacceptable and in no way reflect the professionalism and values we expect from Delta employees.”
The bag of currency is still missing, authorities said.
JFK International Airport was the site of the infamous Lufthansa heist in 1978 in which $5 million in cash and $1 million in jewelry were stolen by six masked robbers. The raid at the Lufthansa Airlines cargo building became the central theme of Martin Scorcese’s hit film “Goodfellas” in 1990.