A former Transportation Safety Administration screener at Kennedy Airport has been arrested and charged with stealing a $7,000 diamond watch from a passenger last month, authorities said Friday.
Margo Grant-Louree, 41, of Montauk Avenue, Brooklyn, is charged with third-degree grand larceny and official misconduct, according to court records. She was released on her own recognizance following arraignment Thursday in Queens and is due back in court on Sept. 24. If convicted, she faces up to 7 years in prison, officials said.
"The defendant was supposed to be screening passengers to enure the safety of the flying public," Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Friday in a statement, "but on this particular day this employee allegedly removed a very expensive watch from a plastic bin and kept it for herself. This kind of thievery will not be tolerated at our airports."
The Port Authority, which operates the airport, said the victim, identified as Bindoo Ahluwalia, was going through security in Terminal 7 on Aug. 26 when he placed his Diamond Master watch in a plastic bin at the screening checkpoint -- then walked off, leaving the watch behind. Video surveillance of the screening area showed Grant-Louree pick up the watch and walk off, officials said in a statement.
According to the complaint against Grant-Louree, officials said she admitted "to taking the timepiece and going into the bathroom with it."
When she returned, authorities said, Grant-Louree found co-workers searching for the watch and she left the area again -- at which time she allegedly destroyed the watch. Soon after, she resigned from the TSA, officials said.
Grant-Louree was represented by a public defender who could not be reached for comment.