Blog

September 13, 2012

Ain’t No Party Like an Airport Party: Airline Caterers Stole 100,000 Mini Booze Bottles

Thousands of the recovered bottles of liquor were displayed at a press conference held by Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. (Photo by Queens DA's Office)

One of the largest airport thefts since the 1978 Lufthansa Heist has been broken up by authorities at JFK Airport.

And while over a dozen employees of Lufthansa-owned LSG Sky Chefs are implicated in the new caper, these guys weren’t exactly the Gambinos or the Colombos. Instead of guns and suitcases of cash, the crimes were carried out using garbage bags filled with the miniature liquor bottles served on airline flights.

Police arrested 15 LSG Sky Chefs workers and three security guards were arrested on Wednesday for stealing over $750,000 worth of mini bottles of alcohol and duty free booze, perfume cigarettes and from the company’s facilities at New York’s JFK Airport, authorities said.

The perps orchestrated a scam in which unopened liquor bottles and unsold duty free items from arriving American Airlines flights would be loaded into garbage bags and sold to neighborhood grocery stores and delis in Queens rather than being transported to an airport storage facility. That $7 bottle of Baileys hawked by your friendly flight attendant would instead be sold on the black market for only about 55 cents, while the finest mini bottle of Courvoisier went for $1.25.

Security guards were plied with  tiny bottles by the bagful in exchange for looking the other way as booty-filled vans drove out of the airport.

During the months-long “Operation Last Call”, police found 600 garbage bags filled with 100 bottles each in the home of a retired Sky Chefs truck driver. He also had $34,000 in cash.

The shops which sold the bootleg booze will likely face charges as well as grocery stores are not allowed to sell liquor in the state of New York, and selling any kind of stolen property is generally frowned upon.

Richard Brown, the Queens County District Attorney, said the defendants were charged with a variety of crimes, including bribe receiving, receiving a reward for official misconduct, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property and combinations of the above. Some will face four years in the slammer, while others may be sentenced to as many as 15 years behind bars.

  • EDGAR AQUINO-ACOSTA, 24, Sky Chefs, Brooklyn, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • DOMINGO A. DURAN, 62, Sky Chefs, Jamaica, NY: Charged with second-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal possession of stolen property. 50,000 to 60,000 mini liquor bottles and $34,000 in cash found in his home. Faces up to 15 years in prison.
  • FRANKLIYN GILL, 64, Sky Chefs, Richmond Hill, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • KELVIN GOMEZ-NUNEZ, 32, Sky Chefs, Ridgewood, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • ISAACS HERNANDEZ, 24, Sky Chefs, Brooklyn, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • ELVIN IMBERT, 37, Sky Chefs, Richmond Hill, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • ABLAM KLOUTSE, 44, Sky Chefs, Richmond Hill, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • WILLIAM LEYVA, 48, Sky Chefs, North Bergen, NJ: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • FREDDIE LUCAS, 36, Sky Chefs, Rosedale, NY, Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • RICHARD LUNA, 50, Sky Chefs, Inwood, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to four years in prison.
  • MAXIME MATHE, 39, Sky Chefs, St. Albans, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • RAYMOND PRENZA, Sky Chefs, 36, New York, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • ISAAC ROMOLEON, Sky Chefs, 51, Jamaica, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • ARKADIUSZ SZMITKO, Sky Chefs, 32, Elmhurst, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • GEORGE TOREZ, 30, Sky Chefs, St. Albans, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • JOSE BAEZ, 50, FJC Security, Glendale, NY: Charged with third-degree bribe receiving, receiving a reward for official misconduct, petit larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.
  • MARTIN MOLINA, 50, FJC Security, Long Island City, NY: Charged with third-degree bribe receiving, receiving a reward for official misconduct, second-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to 15 years in prison.
  • STALIN PINOSSIMBANA, 20, SCIS Security, Ozone Park, NY: Charged with third-degree grand larceny and third-degree criminal possession of stolen property. Faces up to seven years in prison.


About the Author

admin





 
 

 

American Celebrates The Super 80 Send Off As Its MD-80s Fly West

American Airlines retired their classic Super 80 aircraft in style on Wednesday with an airborne party and commemorations in both DFW and O'Hare.
by Ben Granucci
0

 
 

What’s Happening At The 2019 Paris Air Show (Updated 3X)

The 2019 edition of the Paris Air Show is happening this week. The biennial show is traditionally a place where new aircraft are launched and new orders flow in. Follow along here all this week as we recap each day’s happ...
by Ben Granucci
0

 

 

Finnair Celebrates 50 Years in New York

Finnair recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of their Helsinki - New York route.
by Eric Dunetz
0

 
 

A 727? Again?

Take a stroll down memory lane with us as we remember a time when a now classic airliner was once so common that it was boring.
by Shea Oakley
9

 
 

An Ode to the Observation Decks at JFK

JFK once boasted three public observation decks to watch the goings-on at the busy international airport. Let's take a quick tour through history.
by Shea Oakley
12