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Authorities: Baggage Handlers At JFK Airport Rifled Through Mail, Stole More Than $27k

Clockwise from top left: Samuel Wright,  Ariel Weaver, Alexander Fluellen, Anthony Austin and Michael Williams. (credit: Handout)

Clockwise from top left: Samuel Wright, Ariel Weaver, Alexander Fluellen, Anthony Austin and Michael Williams. (credit: Handout)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Five baggage handlers at John F. Kennedy International Airport were doing much more than moving luggage along, authorities said Friday.

As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, the thefts occurred over the last seven months, while U.S. mail was being loaded onto out-going international flights.

The five are accused of stealing more than $27,000 from mail bound for overseas. They’d steal checks and money orders and deposit them in their own accounts, authorities said. The stolen checks included child support payments, officials said.

The destinations included China, Japan, and Korea, D’Auria reported.

The five are also accused of stealing credit cards, which they used to buy iPads and more from kiosks inside the airport, officials said.

“It is alarming that these defendants were allegedly using U.S. mailbags as grab bags to satisfy their own greed,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

“There is zero tolerance for anyone who steals from the U.S. Mail. Postal Inspectors will utilize every resource available to identify those responsible and ensure justice is served,” United States Postal Inspector in Charge Philip Bartlett said.

The suspects were identified as Anthony Austin, 26, of Queens; Michael Williams, 29, of Brooklyn; Alexander Fluellen, 29, of Brooklyn; Samuel Wright, 31, of Brooklyn; and Ariel Weaver, 20, of Queens.

They face larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny and forgery charges. Fluellen, Wright and Weaver were released without bail and Austin was held on $5,000 bail. Williams was being held pending arraignment.

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