A Delta Airlines employee has been arrested in connection with the case of $250,000 in cash that apparently vanished from John F. Kennedy Airport as it was being transferred onto one of the airline's flights en route to Florida, a law enforcement source close to the investigation tells News 4.
The employee, identified as Quincy Thorpe, was taken into custody by the FBI at his New York City home early Thursday, the source said. According to the criminal complaint, an armored vehicle brought eight bags of cash to the airport to be transported down to Miami on September 24.
Thorpe, a baggage handler for Delta, was responsible for scanning and loading the eight bags onto the plane. When the plane landed in Florida, the security company realized one of the bags was missing.
Thorpe was allegedly seen on surveillance footage putting all the bags on the plane — except for one, which he did not scan and placed in a vehicle and drove off with, the complaint says.
The following two days, Thorpe called in sick to work. Police arrested the suspect on Thursday.
The bag of money, which included about $258,200 in both U.S. and foreign currency, has not been recovered, the source said. Thorp appeared in federal court in Brooklyn Thursday afternoon, where a friend agreed to pay his $80,000 bond. After coming out of court, Thorpe repeatedly said "I'm innocent."
“My client denies the charges and we are looking forward to our day in court,” said attorney Lonnie Hart outside of the Queen court. As for the unscheduled day off right after the money was allegedly stolen, Hart called that a coincidence.
"He had doctors appointments that’s why he was out of work."
In a statement to NBC New York, Delta called Thorpe's alleged actions "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," the statement read.
Both the Port Authority and the FBI had been investigating the missing cash. Two officials said the cash shipment was part of a large delivery apparently made from an armored car company to the airport. Even after searches of Thorpe's home and car, officials are not sure where the money has gone.
Past JFK heists have made headlines including the 1978 Lufthansa heist where nearly $6 million was stolen by members and associates of the Lucchese crime family. In 2003, a masked gunman hijacked an armored car and made off with over $2 million.