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Luggage recovery workers steal luxury handbags at Kennedy Airport, says Port Authority

Lenny Hernandez, 42, and his wife, Elepcia Barrientos,

Lenny Hernandez, 42, and his wife, Elepcia Barrientos, 39, both of Jamaica, Queens, face grand larceny charges after returning airline luggage that was missing two luxury items, according to Port Authority officials. Credit: Port Authority

A Queens couple who worked for a luggage recovery company face grand larceny charges after returning airline luggage that was missing two luxury items -- handbags valued at more than $40,000, Port Authority officials said Friday.

The purses, which the owner described as a Chanel handbag and a Hermes handbag, were for sale on eBay, and detectives posing as buyers traced the theft back to Elepcia Barrientos, 39, and her husband, Lenny Hernandez, 42, both of Jamaica, said Joe Pentangelo, police spokesman for the Port Authority.

The victim, a British Airways passenger, had arrived at Kennedy Airport June 6 and learned her luggage was missing, authorities said.

The airline notified Luggage Logistics, which located the woman's luggage, and the day after the flight Barrientos and Hernandez returned the luggage to the woman, Pentangelo said.

Port Authority detectives found the purses on eBay and recovered them from the seller, who did not know they were stolen, police said. They were obtained from another person, who got them from Barrientos and Hernandez, police said.

Barrientos and Hernandez were arraigned Thursday, both on two counts of third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and released on their own recognizance. Temporary orders of protection were also issued against them.

Their attorneys could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

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