Airline worker admits to stealing mail

March 11, 2013 at 1:43 PM

NEW YORK, March 11 (UPI) -- A United Airlines employee has allegedly confessed to stealing packages from the mail at New York City's JFK airport, officials said.

Raza Bhatti, 42, was arrested on Feb. 27 after allegedly being caught stealing mail from the airport, the New York Post reported Monday.

Earlier that day, inspectors noticed six crates of mail hidden among luggage carts awaiting pickup from the airport's postal-processing facility. Finding that suspicious, inspectors kept an eye on the crates via hidden cameras, figuring someone would pick them up.

At 11 p.m., Bhatti allegedly showed up, picked up the boxes and loaded them into a marked United Airlines SUV.

When questioned by police, Bhatti allegedly said he regularly hid packages during busy afternoons at the airport and then returned late at night to pick them up.

Police searched Bhatti's car and apartment and allegedly found huge stashes of merchandise that never got to their destinations, including shoes, perfumes, computers, clothing and handbags, officials said.

Bhatti admitted to stealing mail from the airport "for years," police said.

The suspect was charged with third-degree grand larceny, burglary and possession of stolen goods. He faces a possible seven years in jail if convicted.

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