According to the New York Daily News, Transportation Security Administration screener Margo Louree-Grant was caught stealing a men’s luxury watch from passenger Bindoo Ahluwalia at about 3 p.m. on Aug. 26.
After placing it in a plastic bin for screening, Ahluwalia forgot to retrieve his watch upon passing through security, at which point Louree-Grant decided to make her move.
According to prosecutors, security cameras caught her snatching the watch from the bin. She then hurried into a nearby bathroom to hide the evidence.
When she returned to her post, Louree-Grant noticed coworkers desperately searching for the “misplaced” watch, and she knew the gig was up.
In a moment of panic, she left her post again and destroyed the watch, which was covered in white diamonds and valued at $7,000. Louree-Grant then quit her job soon afterward.
Louree-Grant, a Brooklyn native, was arrested and charge with official misconduct and grand larceny. She faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.
There are national airports located in 31 states, so it’s no surprise that crimes like the one Louree-Grant committed occur with some regularity.
According to RT.com, a former TSA agent convicted of stealing more than $800,000 worth of goods from unsuspecting passengers said this type of theft is “commonplace” among airport security.
As of 2012, almost 400 TSA officers across the country had been fired since 2003 for stealing from travelers.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown was firm and direct in his criticism of Louree-Grant, saying that “this kind of thievery will not be tolerated at our airports.”
The former TSA worker was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Sept. 24 and released without bail, officials said.