JFK worker accused of stealing iPhones

Phones worth $147,000
January 29, 2008 4:18:03 PM PST
A JFK Airport employee and his cousin have been charged with stealing $147,000 in Apple iPhones bound for Hong Kong. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced Tuesday that a 20-year-old airport forklift operator and his 22-year-old cousin have been charged with the theft of 300 Apple iPhones from a cargo warehouse at the airport.

They allegedly sold dozens of the phones to the owner of a Queens cell phone store. The store owner has also been charged in connection with the theft.

"Our airports here in Queens County are the gateway to the entire New York Metropolitan area," Brown said. "In this particular case, the alleged theft could only have been accomplished when one of the defendants took advantage of his position at the airport and betrayed the trust of his employer."

Brown identified the defendants as Nevar Singh, 20, of 116-15 127th Street in South Ozone Park, Queens, who is employed as a forklift operator for Menzie Imports, which is subcontracted to handle Cathay Pacific Airline's freight work; his cousin, Navin A. Hussain, 22, who also resides at the 127th Street address; and Jaouad Najyb, 34, of 142-10 Hoover Avenue in Jamaica, Queens, who is the sole owner of Maya Wireless Cell Phones and Accessories, located at 83-44 Parsons Boulevard in Briarwood, Queens.

Singh and Hussain are each charged with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of a stolen property and fourth-degree conspiracy and face up to 15 years in prison, if convicted. Najyb is charged with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property and faces up to seven years in prison, if convicted.

According to the criminal complaints filed in the case, a shipment of five boxes of Apple iPhones, valued at $147,000, was scheduled to be shipped from Cathay Pacific's JFK warehouse on January 15, 2008, to Kwonloon, Hong Kong.

However, the boxes, which each contained 60 iPhones - each phone worth approximately $490 - never reached their destination.

When Cathay Pacific's cargo manager reviewed the warehouse's surveillance videotape, it is alleged that he observed Singh driving the forklift holding the five boxes of iPhones, stashing the boxes in the warehouse's import area - an area that Singh was not authorized to be working - and then he and another individual opening the door and putting the boxes into an SUV.