LA airport cargo handlers charged with stealing gold bars

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two cargo handlers were charged Tuesday with stealing gold bars from a shipment at Los Angeles International Airport.

Marlon Moody, 38, and Brian Benson, 35, both of Los Angeles, were arrested by FBI agents and have been charged with conspiracy and theft of interstate and foreign shipment, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office.

It wasn't immediately clear whether they had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.

A federal grand jury indictment alleges the men worked for a contractor providing ground handling services at the airport in April of last year when they stole four gold bars from a shipment of 2,000 bars that was being sent from Australia to New York by a Canadian bank.

Each bar weighed 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) and was worth about $56,000, prosecutors said.

The bars were offloaded during a stopover at the airport but an evening inventory found that one box containing 25 bars was missing, authorities said.

Moody found the missing box near a cargo warehouse the next day, drove it to a nearby location and removed four bars, prosecutors said.

Other cargo handlers discovered the box with the remaining 21 bars later that day.

Moody gave Benson one bar, another to a relative and buried the other two in his backyard, but the FBI recovered all of them about two weeks later, prosecutors said.

The men could face up to 15 years in federal prison if convicted.