Six people, including two men from Queens, will face criminal charges in connection with the heists of millions of dollars worth of high end, designer products from John F. Kennedy International Airport earlier this year, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Thursday.
The group allegedly used inside information to forge documents that gave them access to cargo coming into the airport, leading to the theft of over $6 million worth of Chanel, Gucci and Prada products, according to the criminal complaint. Though only four of the alleged thieves have been arrested, all six face a 22-count indictment in Queens Criminal Court.
According to Katz, the group was organized and led by David Lacarriere, of Manhattan, and Gary McArthur, of Springfield Gardens, two truck drivers who formerly worked at JFK Airport. The pair faces a host of charges, including grand larceny, conspiracy and forgery, the DA said.
The first heist began on Jan. 31, 2020, when Lacarriere brought forged documents to the receiving office for an air cargo importer, Katz said. The documents gave Lacarriere, McArthur and two others access to the runway, where they used a tractor trailer to load four pallets of Prada bags, clothes and accessories into the truck, the complaint states. In total, the group made off with around $804,000 worth of Prada products during the first heist, Katz said.
Police recovered the trailer used in the robbery on Feb. 4, only to find it emptied and cleaned with bleach, according to the DA.
A little less than four months later, on May 17, the group repeated the process, as one of the defendants pretended to be a truck driver, presenting forged documents authorizing the release of merchandise from the same air cargo import company, Katz alleges. Lacarriere, McArthur, Davon Davis, of Long Island City, and several others made off with over $4.4 million worth of Chanel and Gucci products, according to the charges.
Just like the first heist, police later recovered the trailer used for the robbery. This time, cops found the truck on 56th Road in Maspeth, still filled with shipping tags, pallets, wrapping material and display cases, according to the authorities.
Beginning surveillance on McArthur, Lacarriere, Davis and an unapprehnded alleged co-conspirator, police observed the group storing the goods inside a Jamaica beauty salon, located at Guy R. Brewer Boulevard and 147th Avenue.
Using a search warrant, police searched the beauty salon to find numerous boxes stuffed with stolen merchandise, Katz said. In all, the NYPD recovered over 3,000 Gucci products and over 1,000 Chanel products, totaling around $2.5 million worth of goods.
According to the charges, Lacarriere and McArthur sold over $300,000 of the merchandise to Alan Vu, of New Jersey. Vu was arrested in New Jersey and will be extradited to Queens, where he faces charges of criminal possession of stolen property and conspiracy.
Lacarriere was arraigned on Wednesday, Oct. 29, and has been charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, criminal possession of a forged instrument, falsifying business records, conspiracy, petty larceny and unauthorized use of a vehicle. At a minimum, he faces four and half years in prison, and at a maximum, 25 years, if convicted.
McArthur faces the same charges as Lacarriere. At the minimum, he faces one year in prison and at a maximum, he faces 25 years in prison, if convicted.
Davis faces grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, forgery, conspiracy, and petty larceny charges. If convicted, Davis faces one to three years in prison. At a maximum, he faces between eight and 25 years in prison.
Vu faces between one to three years and up to five to 15 years in prison, if convicted.
Police are still investigating the heist and seek to arrest two other co-conspirators.