Manhattan man pleads guilty to criminal possession of stolen property in JFK cargo heist

A Manhattan man plead guilty to possession of stolen goods from a cargo heist at JFK Airport last year, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. (Photo courtesy of Katz’s office)

A Manhattan man pleaded guilty to criminal possession of stolen property for his involvement in a 2020 JFK Airport cargo heist of more than $4 million worth of designer goods, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

David Lacarriere, 34, was caught holding $2.5 million worth of Gucci and Chanel designer gear that was part of a brazen theft by a crew that used forged air cargo shipment receipts to gain access to an import/export cargo warehouse on the airport grounds were jewelry, hand bags, ready-to-wear clothes, sneakers and other accessories were taken.

Lacarriere, of Columbus Avenue, pleaded guilty Tuesday to criminal possession of stolen property in the first degree, a B felony, before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gene Lopez.

According to the charges, on May 17, 2020, a co-conspirator impersonated a truck driver and presented forged documents to gain access to a cargo importer facility at JFK. The theft crew drove away with a shipment of high-end designer Chanel and Gucci merchandise. Port Authority Police found the abandoned trailer on May 29, 2020, on 56th Road in Maspeth.

Inside, police found only shipping pallets, wrapping material, shipping tags and display cases. In an effort to cleanse the trailer of all evidence, it was doused in bleach.

Utilizing physical traditional investigative techniques, physical surveillance, as well as cell site, GPS and an extensive video canvas expanding outward from the scene of the crime, the investigative team traced Lacarriere and his co-conspirators to a non-operational beauty salon believed to be used as a stash house for the stolen goods, Katz explained.

Port Authority Police and the JFK FBI Task Force put the location — Candi World Beauty Bar at Guy R. Brewer and 147th Avenue in Jamaica — under physical surveillance.

Katz said while observing what appeared to be a sale of stolen property on June 3, 2020, the investigative team froze the Candi World location. At that time, Lacarriere ran from the police back inside the building. The investigative team executed a court-authorized search warrant for the location.

Upon searching the site, Lacarriere was found hiding inside a closet. Also inside the defunct business, the authorities discovered mountains of boxes stuffed with stolen merchandise, still in the manufacturer’s packaging. In all, police recovered more than 3,000 Gucci items and just over 1,000 authentic Chanel products worth more than $2.5 million.

“The safety and security of Queens County’s airports are a top priority for my office. Teaming up with our law enforcement partners, we relentlessly pursued those responsible for this audacious heist, catching them red-handed with more than $2 million worth of stolen property stashed in a non-operational business in Queens,” Katz said. “Our airports must be safe for travelers. JFK Airport, an international trade hub, must also be secure for companies that transport vital cargo to our region, especially during the height of this healthcare pandemic, when our city relied on air cargo for food and medical supplies.”

Katz added that the investigation and prosecution shed light on a weakness in the security of the region’s air cargo industry and undated security measures have been implemented throughout JFK’s air cargo facilities.

Lacarriere’s next court date for sentencing is set for Oct. 26. At that time, Justice Lopez indicated he will order Lacarriere to prison for 5 1/2 to 11 years.

“We are glad to have taken this individual out of the cargo theft trucking business and will use every resource to bring those responsible to justice,” PAPD Chief Security Officer John Bilich said. “The safety and security of passengers and cargo at our airports is of paramount concern.”

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