A plane cleaner at John F. Kennedy International Airport is accused of stealing more than $10,000 worth of mini liquor bottles along with laptops and other electronic devices off the aircraft she was working on, prosecutors said Friday.
Juanette Cullum, 48, was arraigned Friday on third-degree grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property charges, the New York Daily News reported
. Port Authority police, acting on a tip, searched the suspect's Brooklyn home and found a treasure trove of items that were reportedly stolen.
Authorities found nearly 1,500 mini liquor bottles along with two laptops, seven iPads, and 19 Kindle e-readers at Cullum's residence home, according to WABC-TV
Authorities said the value of all of the items totals more than $15,000.
Cullum works for Air Service Cleaning at JFK, which cleans American Airlines jets in Terminal 8, WABC-TV noted.
"The defendant was a contract employee at Kennedy Airport, who was entrusted with cleaning planes," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said to WCBS-TV in a statement
. "In addition, however, to tidying up the aircraft the defendant allegedly helped herself to the mini bottles of alcohol on board."
A law enforcement source told the New York Post
that Cullum appeared to be hoarding the items instead of selling them. She deflected all questions to her attorney, Peter Laumann, when she was reached about the incident.
"I don't want to talk about this. I am doing fine, thank you," Cullum told the Post.
The newspaper pointed out that the mini liquor bottles, which typically cost passengers around $7 per bottle, have been popular items for workers to steal in the past. The tabloid said authorities in 2012 busted 18 JFK employees for taking $750,000 worth of mini bottles from planes.
That mini liquor bottle heist included three airport security guards and 15 employees of LSG Sky Chefs, which provides catering services for American Airlines flights. The suspect would then sell the bottles to grocers in Queens for $1 and $2 each, reported the Post.
The tabloid stated that the ringleader of the operation, Domingo Duran, pleaded guilty to related charges in 2013 and served a six-month prison sentence after authorities found 60,000 bottles at his home.
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