The FBI says that $1.2 million disappeared from a cash shipment flown on Swiss International Air Lines from Switzerland to New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport.

The money was reported missing on Monday after a count of the money at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York – the shipment’s ultimate destination – found that $1.2 million was gone. “When it got here, the money was missing,” FBI spokesman Jim Margolin said.

The FBI reports that the shipment of three crates originally held $93 million. The $1.2 million stolen was in the form of 12 bundles of $100,000. Altogether, the weight of the missing money would be about 22 pounds.

Before it was sent to the Federal Reserve Bank, an unnamed forklift operator told investigators that he had noticed damage done to one of the crates that was likely made by another forklift. “It was a hole large enough to put your arm in,” he said. He didn’t think much of it at first, as shipping containers tend to have damage done to them after years of wear and tear. Upon questioning, however, he acknowledged that the hole was larger than might typically be seen.


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The operator also said that the perforated shipping crate was positioned so that the hole couldn’t be seen until it was removed in New York.

Investigators are operating under the suspicion that the money was taken before the flight took off. They believe it was either stolen by someone who knew what was in the crates, or saw an opportunity to take the cargo.

Cargo heists are nothing new for JFK Airport. In 1978 about $5 million was taken from the Lufthansa Airlines terminal, a heist immortalized in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas.

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