Marsha Henry, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida airport gate agent with the JetBlue Airlines, was charged with theft Tuesday after investigators accused her of stealing a wallet from an 11-year-old passenger, reports say. Henry, 33, is facing a single charge of petit theft. She has also been suspended from the airlines for the duration of the case. It is unclear whether she has hired a private criminal defense lawyer.
Reports say that Henry was working as a gate agent at the JetBlue International Airport in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood when the incident took place. Henry had been placed in charge of helping an 11-year-old boy who was flying alone to New York to visit his grandmother. However, between Fort Lauderdale and New York, the child’s wallet went missing. The wallet apparently contained $200. The boy’s name has not been released due to his status as a minor.
After reaching his final destination, the boy called his father to tell him about the missing wallet, reports say. The father reportedly went to the airport and began questioning staff about the lost item. Henry, who was working at the airline’s F-10 gate, was unable to explain how the wallet went missing. An investigation was launched, sources say, and surveillance footage taken at the time of the boy’s boarding allegedly showed Henry leaving the airplane with the child’s wallet in hand.
When investigators questioned the child, reports say he told them that Henry had escorted him to his seat and retrieved some paperwork and the wallet from a pouch provided by the airline. The father told the detectives that he had placed the wallet in that pouch himself prior to sending the boy off. The boy went on to say that it was his understanding that he would receive the wallet upon his arrival in New York.
Broward County police charged Henry with petit theft following examination of the footage, sources say. A spokesperson from the JetBlue airlines also told the press that they suspended Henry until a verdict is reached in the case. According to the father, it was his choice to prosecute. “There are a lot of kids who travel alone and I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to others,” he told reporters Thursday. So far, he says he has been refunded the $100 “unaccompanied minor” charge. The airline has also agreed to refund him the stolen $200 by check.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport sees its fair share of crime. A couple was accused of stealing luggage from both the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the Miami International Airport in May of this year, sources indicate. Sean Maxwell and his wife Lorina Flint of Broward County, Florida were both arrested on multiple charges, including grand theft. Reports say that surveillance footage taken at both of the airports assisted in the arrest of the couple, who had been stealing luggage since March. It is not clear how their case is progressing.