Sources Tell CBS 2 Nearly $50 Million Was Left Behind On Plane

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The FBI said $1.2 million in cash was discovered missing from a Swiss International Air Lines jet after it landed at John F. Kennedy Airport.

Agency spokesman J. Peter Donald said the plane arrived on Saturday. He said the money was in $100 bills.

Sources told CBS 2 there was actually $50 million in the plane’s cargo hold, but only $1.2 million was taken.

Authorities told CBS 2 there was a puncture in a smaller container that was in a larger crate that held the cash.

The money was part of an inter-bank transfer and was headed to the Federal Reserve in New Jersey, Brennan reported.

“I’m thinking it’s totally an inside job. They had to know the money was on the flight. If not, why else would they have broken into a smaller box inside a larger box inside of a huge plane?” security expert Manny Gomez told Brennan.

The FBI is investigating whether the cash disappeared from the cargo hold in Zurich, Switzerland, where Flight 17 originated, or after it landed.

As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported, investigators are also looking into why millions of dollars in cash was left behind.

NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly said the FBI is investigating.

“I’m aware of it but it’s not our jurisdiction,” Kelly told Brennan.

The theft raises serious questions about whether there’s a more secure way to transport millions of dollars.

“Like the Department of Defense, they have planes coming in internationally all over the place. They land in military planes, it’s much more secure, much more traceable and much more accountable,” Gomez said.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airport, said it could not comment.

The airline said in an email that it could not confirm or comment due to the ongoing investigation. But it said it had “no indication that any valuables were removed from a Swiss International Air Lines aircraft” at JFK.

This isn’t the first reported cargo theft at JFK. In 1978, $5.8 million in cash and jewels was stolen from the Lufthansa vaults at JFK, which later inspired the 1990 movie “Goodfellas.”

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