The theft of four gold bars from a shipment sent to Los Angeles International Airport could send two cargo handlers to prison for up to 15 years. South Los Angeles residents Marlon Moody, 38, and Brian Benson, 35, were arrested Tuesday by the FBI on charges of conspiracy and theft of interstate and foreign shipment after allegedly stealing four gold bars from a shipment of 2,000. The shipment, which arrived at LAX on a Singapore Airlines flight on April 22, 2020, en route from Australia to New York, had been arranged by a bank in Toronto, reports NBC News. Employees from a cargo company had secured the shipment outside the airport before a box of 25 gold bars was found to be missing, according to the US Attorney's Office for the Central District of California. Moody claimed to have found it near the airline's cargo warehouse the following day.
Prosecutors say the employee of private cargo handling company Alliance Ground International took the box to a location where he removed four of the bars, each worth $56,000, per CBS Los Angeles. He was then picked up by coworker Benson. They allegedly exchanged text messages about the gold while other employees were riding in the same vehicle. Prosecutors say Moody later gave Benson one bar, buried two others in his backyard, and gave the fourth to a relative, telling them to exchange it for cash or a car. Other cargo handlers found the infiltrated box of 21 gold bars on April 23, prompting an investigation. Within two weeks, the FBI had recovered all four gold bars, including the one Benson allegedly stashed in a bedroom. Moody and Benson each face a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison if convicted as charged. (Read more Los Angeles International Airport stories.)