Manhattan man sentenced for role in 2020 JFK cargo heist of luxury designer gear: DA

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz displayed some of the stolen Gucci and Chanel luxury goods that were part of a 2020 JFK cargo heist. A Manhattan man was sentenced to up to 11 years in prison for his role. (Photo courtesy DA’s office)

A Manhattan man has been sentenced to up to 11 years in prison for his role in a JFK cargo heist of luxury designer goods last year, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

David Lacarriere, 34, of Columbus Avenue, pleaded guilty in September to holding more than $2,5 million in stolen Gucci and Chanel designer merchandise that was part of a May 2020 Kennedy Airport heist of more than $4 million in expensive goods. Lacarriere and a co-defendant, who was previously sentenced, were caught with jewelry, handbags, ready-to-wear clothes, sneakers and other accessories.

Lacarriere pleaded guilty to criminal possession of stolen property, a B felony, before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gene Lopez who sentenced him Monday to 5 1/2 to 11 years in prison.

Co-defendant Oscar Asencio, 33, of 99th Street in Elmhurst, pleaded guilty in August to criminal possession of stolen property, also before Justice Lopez, who sentenced Asencio to 3 1/2 to six years in prison.

“Millions of dollars’ worth of designer merchandise was illegally hauled off airport property by a crew of bandits who used forged cargo shipment receipts to gain access to an importer/exporter warehouse,” Katz said. “Keeping our airports in Queens safe and secure is a top priority of my office. Two of the defendants have now been sentenced by the court for their roles in this brazen heist.”

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 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.

“Detectives from the Port Authority Police Department along with FBI Agents, and the Queens DA’s office worked relentlessly to bring this case to a close,” Port Authority Chief Security Officer John Bilich said. “What we experienced throughout the duration of this investigation was a collaborative effort for justice by multiple agencies and we stand committed to the safety and security of passengers and cargo at our airports.”

Katz added that the investigation and prosecution uncovered a weakness in the security in the region’s air cargo industry. Working with the Port Authority and the Transportation Security Administration, improved safety and security measures have been implemented, Katz said.