Citizen complaints are the lifeblood of many investigations. The initial complaint will give New York investigators a tip as to alleged criminal activity that is going on, which can then stem into a full on investigation if the evidence warrants. However, in some cases, the felony charges that initiate from citizen complaints are the result of the detective work of those not in law enforcement, as was the case in a recent arrest of seven individuals.
The investigation began at JFK airport when an airline received numerous complaints of missing items from travelers' luggage. As a result of the complaints, the airline installed cameras in their baggage handling area. The footage is alleged to have caught seven individuals who worked for the airline going through bags and pocketing items.
When approached by law enforcement about the video, the seven individuals are alleged to have confessed to the crimes. They were charged with grand larceny, a felony offense. Two of the individuals were released without bail, while the other five remain in custody on $1,000 bail.
There are some felony charges where the evidence appears to be overwhelming. However, in these cases, each defendant is still entitled to a vigorous defense. Although this defense may not in many cases, exonerate the defendants, it may serve as a starting point to talks with New York prosecutors on what an appropriate sentence may be. These talks along with a critical analysis of what the videos and other evidence show, could serve an important purpose in ensuring that a fair resolution is obtained.
Source: New York Daily News, Seven baggage handlers at Kennedy Airport arrested for swiping iPads, Cartier watch and other valuables, Thomas Tracy, Aug. 30, 2013