‘Mastermind’: Ex-JFK Airport trucker David Lacarriere, 33, has been accused of hatching a plot to steal $6million worth of designer goods on two separate occasions from JFK Airport earlier this year
Two former John F Kennedy International Airport truck drivers and four accomplices have been indicted for allegedly stealing more than $6million worth of designer goods, including Chanel and Prada bags, and Gucci accessories.
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz and the Port Authority Police revealed on Thursday that the elaborate plot was hatched by one-time JFK employees David Lacarriere, 33, and Gary McArthur, 43, who they say used forged documents to haul away shipments containing thousands of items of high-end merchandise on two separate occasions earlier this year.
Lacarriere, McArthur and their alleged associates have been variously charged with conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, criminal possession of a forged instrument and falsify business records, among other counts.
‘The safety and security of this county’s airports are a top priority,’ Katz stated. ‘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.
Lacarriere and Gary McArthur allegedly used forged documents to haul more than $800,000 worth of Prada bags and clothes from an air cargo importer on January 31
In May, the alleged perpetrators employed the same methods to steal $5.3million worth of Chanel clothing, bags, shoes and accessories from the same importer
‘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.’
According to a press release from Katz’s office, on the night of January 31, 2020, Lacarriere, using his knowledge of how shipments are picked up at the airport, went to the receiving office for an air cargo importer and showed a falsified 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, then used a tractor trailer to load four pallets of Prada goods into the truck and drove away. According to the charges, this first heist netted the crew about $804,000 in Prada bags, clothes and accessories.
A few days later, police located the trailer used in the robbery. The inside was empty, except for the interior being doused in bleach.
On May 17, one of the suspects posed as a truck driver and presented another forged document authorizing the release of merchandise from the same air cargo import company that was targeted in the first heist.
This time, Lacarriere, McArthur, former Delta Airlines employee Davon Davis, 32, and other accomplices hauled away five air freight pallets containing thousands of pieces of Chanel and Gucci merchandise valued at over $5.3million.
One of the trailer used to steal thousands of Chanel bags and accessories was later found ditched in Long Island, with the interior drenched in bleach
Police tracked the suspects to a closed beauty salon in Queens, where they ultimately discovered a ‘mountain’ of boxes containing designer goods
Following a now-familiar routine, the perpetrators ditched the trailers used in the heist. One of them was found on May 29 in Maspeth, Long Island. Inside, police discovered shipping pallets, wrapping material, shipping tags and display cases. The interior of the trailer was also drenched in bleach.
According to Katz, in June, police traced McArthur, Lacarriere, Davis and an unnamed co-conspirator to a shuttered beauty salon in Queens that allegedly was being used as a ‘stash house’ for the stolen designer goods.
Surveillance video captured the suspects, including Davis, going in and out of Candi World Beauty Bar located at Guy R. Brewer Boulevard and 147th Avenue in the Jamaica section of Queens.
‘When police arrived to search the beauty shop on June 3, 2020 they allegedly interrupted a sale of stolen designer goods,’ the release stated.
According to the charges, an unnamed middleman had arranged for Lacarriere and McArthur to sell stolen Chanel handbags to 51-year-old Alan Vu.
Police reportedly observed Vu loading more than $300,000 worth of merchandise into the trunk of his white Mercedes SUV.
When officers entered the defunct beauty salon to execute a search warrant, they discovered ‘mountains of boxes stuffed with stolen merchandise still in the manufacturers’ packaging.’
Police recovered more than 3,000 Gucci items – including clothes and bags and other accessories – and just over 1,000 Chanel products. The estimated value of the goods totaled more than $2.5million.
If convicted as charged, Lacarriere, McArthur and Davis could face up to 25 years in prison. All three are due back in court on December 7.
This image shows the trunk of suspect Alan Vu’s Mercedes Benz SUV, containing $300,000 worth of stolen goods
This collage displays some of the more than 4,000 stolen designer products that were recovered by law enforcement
Vu is awaiting extradition from New Jersey to Queens. He could face up to 15 years in prison, if convicted of criminal possession of stolen property and conspiracy.
Police are still searching for two additional suspects in connection to the airport heists.
This is not Lacarriere’s first run-in with the law: in 2016, the Manhattan resident pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal nearly $700,000 worth of high-end merchandise from a cargo area at Newark Liberty International Airport, as NJ.com reported at the time.
Lacarriere agreed to the plea deal in exchange for a five-year state prison sentence.
In that case, Lacarriere and an accomplice used a forged air freight bill to haul a load of Hermes and Chanel bags and clothing from the New Jersey airport to JFK Airport in December 2014.
In 1978, JFK Airport became the site of an infamous robbery in which a band of armed thieves stole $5.875million in cash and jewelry from the Lufthansa cargo terminal. The loot was never recovered and the heist was immortalized in the films Goodfellas and The Big Heist.