DA: 18 accused of stealing liquor off planes at JFK

NEW YORK - Prosecutors say 18 people have been arrested for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of mini liquor bottles off of planes at JFK International Airport for sale on the black market. Investigators say the multimillion-dollar scheme involved current and former employees at JFK. Fifteen of the suspects worked for a food service company called Sky Chef. They allegedly stole the liquor and duty-free goods off of arriving American Airline flights. The other three suspects are security guards who allegedly accepted booze as bribes to look the other way and let the stolen goods leave the airport in trucks that weren't inspected. The three guards work for a company called FJC Security, which says all three passed initial background checks. Investigators say the arrests came after a 10-month investigation and sting dubbed "Operation Last Call."Sources tell News 12 Long Island that each man would steal upward of 500 liquor bottles a day off of aircrafts, totaling about 7,500 bottles per day. The scheme cost the American Airlines approximately $20 million per year and has been going on for up to five years. The Port Authority inspector general acknowledged that the allegations represent a major security breach. He says it highlights the need for Port Authority police to run all operations at the airport, and hinted that there could be a major security realignment at JFK in coming weeks.

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