Springfield Gardens resident pleads not guilty to charges in JFK moneybag heist

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The two men arrested and charged in connection with a heist of more than a quarter-million dollars at JFK Airport in September pleaded not guilty to the indictment Thursday.

Defendants Quincy Thorpe of Brooklyn and Springfield Gardens resident Emmanuel Asuqou Okon made their pleas through their attorneys as they engage in plea negotiations with the government, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn.

An armored vehicle delivered eight bags of cash to the airport on Sept. 24 to be transported to Miami. Federal authorities say Thorpe, 40, a baggage handler for Delta Ground Services, was responsible for scanning and loading the eight bags onto the Delta flight, according to the criminal complaint.

When the baggage was off-loaded in Miami it was discovered that one bag was missing. Federal prosecutors say the stolen bag contained bulk cash and foreign currency valued at $258,205.

Security footage obtained by the FBI shows Thorpe scanning and loading some of the eight bags onto Flight 1225, but not scanning the stolen bag, instead placing it in a vehicle and driving off.

The Delta vehicle then left the airport secured area of operations and proceeded to another unsecured are of JFK. Between 9 and 9:30 a.m., a blue Nissan Sentra, allegedly driven by Okon, 33, arrived and pulled up behind the van.

Two minutes later, both vehicles exited the lot and drove in separate directions.

Authorities cuffed Thorpe at his Brooklyn home on Sept. 26 and Okon was busted by the FBI the following day at his Springfield Gardens home. FBI interviews with witnesses identified Okon as a friend and close associate of Thorpe, whose domestic partner owns a blue Nissan Sentra.

During a search of the vehicle, an FBI agent found an envelope containing a transfer manifest belonging to the Victim Security Company and a Delta Airlines Waybill for the Sept. 24 flight, and associated with “Piece 8 of 8.”

Okon is not an employee of the Victim Security Company or Delta Airlines. There is currently no date for the defendants’ next court appearance before United States District Judge Margo K. Brodie.

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