Light Fingered Aircraft Cleaner Stole 1,500 Liquor Miniatures

Open Jaw

A contract worker who cleaned passenger planes at JFK has been arrested and fired from her job on charges that she took nearly $15,000 worth of items from the aircraft she serviced – including nearly 1,500 miniature liquor bottles.

AP reports that Juanette Cullum was arraigned on charges of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. AirServ, the aircraft cleaning and ground services firm that had been her employer, confirmed her termination.

A police spokesman for Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – the agency that runs the big 3 in New York – says the case was initiated when a witness tipped off AA security officials that the 48 yr. old woman was stealing property from planes at JFK.

Authorities say they then interviewed the suspect and searched her apartment. They found 1,429 mini-bottles of unopened liquor, 7 iPads, 2 laptops, 19 Kindle tablets and a "large amount" of various toiletries.

The woman's thefts appear to have spanned 3 years, authorities say. But her motivation is unclear. Regarding the more than 1,400 mini-bottles of booze, the New York Post - citing unnamed police sources - writes: "She wasn't selling the bottles but appeared to be hoarding them."

"The defendant was a contract employee at Kennedy Airport, who was entrusted with cleaning planes. In addition, however, to tidying up the aircraft the defendant allegedly helped herself to the mini bottles of alcohol on board," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

If convicted, Cullum faces up to 7 years in prison.

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