Five baggage handlers who processed mail at Kennedy Airport are accused of stealing credit cards, money orders and checks, including money that a member of the armed services overseas was sending home to Missouri, prosecutors said.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said the five defendants, ranging in age from 20 to 31, are also accused of using stolen credit cards to buy iPad minis and other electronics from Best Buy kiosks in the airport.
The alleged thefts totaled more than $27,000 between July and last month.
The suspects stole checks and money orders ranging from $100 to $1,000, prosecutors said. They would deposit them into their own bank accounts, sometimes writing their own names over the intended recipients.
Two money orders for $1,000 and $725, sent from an overseas military base to Missouri, were also stolen, prosecutors said. A $500 child support payment sent to Japan was taken.
A woman's $500 money order to her father in South Korea was also stolen, along with three $700 money orders another woman sent to her father in Japan.
Prosecutors said the investigation began after numerous reports of missing credit cards, money orders and checks from U.S. mail.
Brown said in a statement that "it's alarming that these defendants were allegedly using U.S. mailbags as grab bags to satisfy their own greed."
The defendants are charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and other charges.