Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the theft of nearly $250,000 in cash from John F. Kennedy International Airport last Thursday, authorities announced.
Quincy Thorpe, a Delta Ground Service employee, was first arrested after he was spotted taking a bag full of cash rather than scanning and loading it onto a plane. Afterward, Emmanuel Asuquo Okon met Thorpe behind a parked aircraft to pick up the bag.
Okon drove his domestic partner's car to JFK to retrieve the bag of cash from Thorpe. Authorities report that license plate readers show the car arriving at the highway entrance to JFK at 9:13 a.m. and then leaving three minutes later on the day in question.
A second NYC man was busted in the theft of a bag containing nearly $260,000 in cash on a Delta Airlines plane. https://t.co/2nSypfG8lu— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) October 1, 2019
Law enforcement officials, who searched that vehicle, discovered an envelope containing a Delta Air Waybill for the Delta flight last Thursday linked to "Piece 8 of 8," the missing bag of cash, according to the complaint. "The case is completely circumstantial and there are no allegations of an actual crime happening," Okon's attorney, Douglas Rankin, told CNN. "I expect the charges to be dismissed in the not so distant future."
Okon was later released on $80,000 bond, according to the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York. He was arrested Saturday night at JFK after returning from a holiday, Rankin said. Initially, eight bags were intended to be scanned and loaded onto the plane that was headed for Miami, but only seven made it onto the flight with Thorpe's identification, according to the complaint against Thorpe.
After Flight 1225 landed in Miami, the security company transporting the bags, Victim Security Company, noticed that one was missing, according to the complaint. The following two days, Thorpe called out sick to work. The FBI interviewed Thorpe on Thursday, where he admitted he had been responsible for the loading bags and knew that they contained valuables, according to the complaint.
In a statement, Delta said, "The alleged actions of this employee are unacceptable and in no way reflect the professionalism and values we expect from Delta team members. We are taking this situation very seriously and working directly with authorities on their investigation as well as conducting an internal investigation of our own."
Over the years, there have been a number of heists at JFK. In 1978, $5 million in cash and $1 million in jewels that had arrived via Lufthansa at the airport were taken at gunpoint from a cargo terminal. The heist had been planned by Jimmy Burke, an associate of the Lucchese crime family, and carried out by several associates.