Baggage Handler Arrested For Theft Of Uncirculated Bills

A baggage handler for US Airways was arrested by the FBI on Tuesday for the alleged theft of $20,000 in uncirculated hundred-dollar bills at Philadelphia International Airport two weeks ago.

Alex Price, 25, confessed to the theft after completing a polygraph exam Tuesday, authorities said. Price then led FBI agents to his two cars, parked near his home, and the FBI recovered the cash in a blue drawstring bag from one of the cars.

Price took the money from a $192 million shipment of currency being transported from Dallas to the Federal Reserve in East Rutherford, N.J., authorities said.

The shipment of hundred-dollar bills - a new design not yet in circulation - contained 60 packages of approximately $3.2 million each.

In an affidavit supporting a warrant for King's arrest, FBI Special Agent John Deven Sermons gave the following account:

The money was on U.S. Airways Flight 1210, which landed in Philadelphia at 10:35 a.m. Oct. 11. By the time the shipment arrived at East Rutherford, one package was opened.

The two guards from Dunbar Security who drove the armored vehicle from the airport to North Jersey said no one had taken the packages while the shipment was under their supervision.

Multiple baggage handlers in Philadelphia were interviewed by the FBI and Philadelphia police, including Price, whom police interviewed by phone Oct. 11. At that time, Price said he did not see any theft. Six days later, Price was interviewed by the FBI, at which point he said that he was the only baggage handler with direct access to the money but that he had no involvement in the theft.

Price said he was willing to take a polygraph to prove his innocence. Tuesday morning, the FBI took Price up on his offer.

After the exam, according to Sermons' affidavit, Price confessed to the theft and said the money was hidden in his car.

Price led agents to his two cars, and the $20,000 was recovered in a blue drawstring bag from Price's white Nissan Maxima, the affidavit said.

Returning to the FBI's Philadelphia headquarters, Price again confessed to the theft, the affidavit stated, and an FBI audit confirmed the money was recovered in its entirety.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Ignall is prosecuting the case, and Price is scheduled for an initial Magistrate's Court appearance Wednesday.

Contact Jonathan Lai

at 215-854-2771, jlai@philly.com, or on Twitter @elaijuh.

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