2012-07-20 / Top Stories

Local Pleads Guilty To Airport Theft

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced on Wednesday that a 46-year-old Far Rockaway man has pleaded guilty to third- and fourthdegree grand larceny for stealing passenger luggage from malls, restaurants and other areas of several different terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport on six occasions between 2011 and 2012.

Brown said, “Traveling through the airports is stressful enough these days without having to worry that if you turn your back for a moment a thief who is lurking about will steal your luggage. This is exactly how the defendant operated – snatching luggage filled with thousands of dollars in cash, electronics and other valuables as soon as the victimized passengers were distracted. Based on the defendant’s own admissions, the sentence promised by the Court – 3 to 6 years in state prison – is more than justified.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Frederick McDonald, 46, of 1059 Grassmere Terrace in Far Rockaway.

McDonald pleaded guilty before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Dorothy Chin-Brandt to four counts of third-degree grand larceny and two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny. Sentencing was set for August 15, 2012 at which time, Justice Chin-Brandt indicated, she would sentence the defendant to an indeterminate term of 3 to 6 years in prison as a predicate felon.

Brown said that, according to the guilty plea, between September 22, 2011 and February 27, 2012, the defendant committed the following: - On September 22, 2011, outside of

Terminal 8, the defendant stole a briefcase containing a laptop computer and $4,000 in U.S. and foreign currency while the victim was paying a taxi driver. - On January 22, 2012, inside of Terminal 5, the defendant, while pretending to be a Jet Blue porter, offered to help the victim by pushing her luggage cart containing a pocketbook, luggage and a carry-on bag. When the victim turned to attend to her 5-year-old son, who had fallen, the defendant stole the cart. It was later recovered but among the items missing from the cart were an iPad, $6,000 in U.S. currency, a camera and a set of passports.

- On February 10, 2012, inside of Terminal 4, the defendant stole a pocketbook containing U.S. and foreign currency, a cell phone and a credit card from a luggage cart outside of a restroom while the victim used the restroom.

- On February 21, 2012, inside of the

Caviar House restaurant located inside of Terminal 4, the defendant stole a briefcase that the victim had placed underneath his chair. The bag contained an iPad, a laptop computer and $500 in U.S. currency.

- On February 25, 2012, inside of Terminal 8, the defendant sneaked up behind a man traveling with his wife and elderly mother-in-law and when they were not looking he took a laptop computer and a small bag containing

$2,200 and medication.

- On February 27, 2012, inside of Terminal 4, while the victim was at a counter purchasing a ticket, the defendant swiped his laptop computer and a backpack containing a cell phone, a digital camera, and $2,500 in U.S. currency from a luggage cart right behind the victim.

The DA further said that, upon noticing a pattern of thefts, the Port Authority Police Department viewed hundreds of hours of video surveillance footage and ultimately recovered footage of the defendant committing the crimes or rifling through the stolen luggage.

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