MULTI-AGENCY INVESTIGATION TAKES DOWN HEISTS CREW ACCUSED OF STEALING AND SELLING MILLIONS IN DESIGNER GOODS FROM JFK; DEFENDANTS CHARGED WITH CONSPIRACY, LARCENY AND OTHER CRIMES
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, joined by the Port Authority Police Chief Security Officer John Bilich, today announced that six individuals involved in two cargo heists and selling the proceeds have been indicted and variously charged with grand larceny, conspiracy, criminal possession of stolen property and other crimes for allegedly carrying out complex heists from John F. Kennedy International Airport earlier this year. Using insider information, the defendants allegedly hauled tractor trailers loaded with more than $6 million worth of designer merchandise, including Chanel handbags and jewelry, Gucci purses, sunglasses, sneakers and clothing, along with Prada bags, ready-to-wear and accessories.
District Attorney Katz said, “The safety and security of this county’s airports are a top priority. Teaming up with our law enforcement partners, we relentlessly pursued the suspects, who allegedly used forged documents and their insider knowledge as former airport workers to steal air cargo. Of course our airports must be safe and secure for travelers, but they also must be trusted by international companies transporting cargo to our region – especially during a pandemic when our City needs PPE, test kits, medical supplies and equipment. I would like to thank both the PAPD and the FBI’s JFK Task Force for their diligence in taking down this crew.”
Port Authority Chief Security Officer Bilich said, “This multi-agency effort was a success for the security of the region and the rule of law. Detectives from the Port Authority Police Department along with FBI Agents, and the Queens DA’s Office displayed unrelenting dedication and commitment to solving this case and making sure that the perpetrators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The District Attorney’s Office identified the main defendants as David Lacarriere, 33, and Gary McArthur, 43, both truckers who formerly worked at JFK Airport. Lacarriere and McArthur and four other defendants are variously charged in a 22-count indictment with grand larceny, conspiracy, criminal possession of stolen property and other crimes. (SEE ADDENDUM FOR DETAILS ON ALL DEFENDANTS).
On the night of January 31, 2020, according to the charges, Lacarriere, using his knowledge of how shipments are picked up at the airport, went to the receiving office for an air cargo importer. He allegedly showed a forged document listing the correct airway bill and flight details for a shipment of Prada products. He and McArthur, who enlisted the assistance of two others, allegedly used a tractor trailer to load four pallets of Prada merchandise into the truck and drove away.
According to the charges, this first heist netted the defendants approximately $804,000 in Prada bags, clothes and accessories. A few days later on February 4, 2020, police located the trailer used in the robbery. The inside was empty, except for the interior being doused in bleach.
Continuing, according to the indictment, on May 17, 2020, the same routine was repeated in a second JFK heist. One of the defendants posed as a truck driver and presented another forged document authorizing the release of merchandise from the same air cargo import company. Defendants Lacarriere, McArthur and Davon Davis and others allegedly hauled away 5 air freight pallets containing thousands of pieces of Chanel and Gucci merchandise valued in excess of $5.3 million.
Again, as detailed in the charges, the defendants allegedly abandoned the trailers used in the heist. One trailer was found on May 29, 2020 on 56th Road in Maspeth. Inside, police found shipping pallets, wrapping material, shipping tags and display cases. The interior of this trailer was also drenched in bleach.
DA Katz said, in June 2020, police traced McArthur, Lacarriere, Davis and an unapprehended co-conspirator to a non-operational beauty salon allegedly used as a stash house for the stolen goods. Surveillance video shows the defendants including Davis, who is a former employee of Delta Airlines, going in and out of Candi World Beauty Bar at Guy R. Brewer Boulevard and 147th Avenue in Jamaica. Davis has a connection with the owner of the closed beauty shop. It appeared the establishment was allegedly used by the defendants to store their stolen merchandise.
When police arrived to search the beauty shop on June 3, 2020 they allegedly interrupted a sale of stolen designer goods. According to the charges, another unapprehended co-conspirator allegedly was the middle man and arranged for Lacarriere and McArthur to sell Alan Vu 117 items – mostly Chanel handbags. Law enforcement observed Vu loading more than $300,000 worth of merchandise into the back of his white Mercedes SUV.
Continuing, said the DA, once inside Candi World, police executed a Court-authorized search warrant and discovered mountains of boxes stuffed with stolen merchandise still in the manufacturers’ packaging. In all police recovered more than 3,000 Gucci items – clothes and bags and other accoutrements. Just over 1,000 Chanel products – purses, jewelry, sunglasses and other accessories. The estimated value of the recovered merchandise totals more than $2.5 million.
The DA would like to extend a special thanks to the FBI JFK Task Force consisting of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, NYPD, PAPD, NYSP, HSI and Federal Air Marshalls whose collaborative effort was instrumental in the investigation of the crime leading to these arrests.
The investigation was conducted by Detectives Nicholas Ciancarelli, Anthony Young, Daniel Tancredo, Joseph Pignataro, Phil Tysowski, Sergio Laboy, Francisco Romero, Katie Lewrey, Luis Santibanez and Tonya McKinley, of the Port Authority Police, under the supervision of Detective Sergeant Thomas Eddings, Sergeant Dewan Maharaj, Detective Lieutenant Jose Alba, Inspector Hugh Johnson, and under the overall supervision of Port Authority Criminal Investigation Bureau Chief Matthew Wilson, PAPD Superintendent Edward Cetnar and Port Authority Police Chief Security Officer John Bilich.
Also assisting in the investigation were members of the District Attorney’s Office, specifically Assistant District Attorneys Catherine Kane, Chief of Airport Investigations and Deputy Bureau Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau and Elizabeth Speck of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau and Detective Lieutenant Al Schwartz, of the DA’s Detective Bureau.
Assistant District Attorney Catherine Kane, Chief of Airport Investigations and Deputy Bureau
Chief of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau, is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Speck, also of the Major Economic Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Mary Lowenburg, Bureau Chief of the Major Economic Crimes, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney of Investigations Gerard A. Brave.
DAVID LACARRIERE, 33, of Columbus Avenue in Manhattan, was arraigned yesterday before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Gene Lopez on an indictment charging him with grand larceny in the first and second degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the first, second and fifth degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, falsifying business records in the second degree, conspiracy in the fourth degree, petit larceny and unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree. Justice Lopez remanded the defendant and set his return date for December 7, 2020. Lacarriere faces between 4 ½ to 9 years and up to 12 ½ to 25 years in prison if convicted.
GARY MCARTHUR, 43, of Coombs Street in Springfield Gardens, Queens, was arraigned yesterday before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice Gene Lopez on an indictment charging him with grand larceny in the first, second and fifth degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the first, second and fifth degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, falsify business records in the second degree, conspiracy in the fourth degree, petit larceny and unauthorized use of a vehicle in the third degree. Justice Lopez set the return date for December 7, 2020. McArthur faces between 1 to 3 years and up to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison if convicted.
DAVON DAVIS, 32, of Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City, was arraigned yesterday before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gene Lopez on an indictment charging him with grand larceny in the first degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the first and fifth degree, criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree, falsifying business records in the second degree, conspiracy in the fourth degree, petit larceny, Justice Lopez set the return date for December 7, 2020. Davis faces between 1 to 3 years and up to 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison if convicted.
ALAN VU, 51, of Greico Drive in Jersey City, New Jersey, was taken into custody in New Jersey and is awaiting extradition to Queens. Vu is charged with criminal possession of stolen property in the second degree and conspiracy in the fourth degree. If convicted, Vu faces between 1 to 3 years and up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
Two other unapprehended co-conspirators are being sought.
**Criminal complaints and indictments are accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.