N.Y. airport workers busted in Kevin Durant sneaker heist

Posted at 6:40 PM, May 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-29 20:40:23-04
By Lorenzo Ferrigno


NEW YORK (CNN) — NBA star Kevin Durant got paid big bucks for making 24 steals this season. But prosecutors have called a foul on two New York airport employees who allegedly swiped 24 not-yet released sneakers from his Nike collection.

John F. Kennedy International Airport employees Calvin Colain Nelson, 23, and Audley Russell, 47, allegedly stole the expensive basketball shoes and sold pairs via Instagram, according to a criminal complaint. They face grand larceny charges.

The sneakers, known as “KD 8,” are the latest edition Nike will release in the 2014 MVP forward’s name and will retail for approximately $200. Durant plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder

A manager for a freight company associated with Nike noticed that a carton of 12 pair of KD 8 sneakers from Taiwan landed at JFK airport on May 9, but never reached its final destination in Canada, according to a statement from Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

The next day, pictures of the sneakers began appearing on an Instagram account, advertising them for sale, the statement said. The posts boasted: “We have all sizes available! KD 8’s confirmed to be dropping in July!!!!!” and “No need for us to hide anything!”

The account, @SNKR_BASE, was connected to Nelson, a security guard at the airport, the district attorney’s office said.

Nelson was at the airport on the day of the theft, according to the complaint.

Nelson allegedly sent text messages to another JFK employee, Russell, of the cargo department, who he said had previously sold Nelson shoes.

They later met on the street to seal the deal, Nelson reportedly told authorities.

After keeping a pair for himself, Nelson allegedly sold the rest via Instagram for between $135 and $300 a pair, according to the complaint.

Russell told police that his wife told him someone dropped off a bag of shoes at their house and that he “knew it came from [Cargo] building 76 at the airport,” the statement said.

Referring to the deal with Nelson, Russell allegedly said, “He gave me $80 to $100 a pair. I didn’t know how hot the sneakers were. I would have asked for more money.”

Nelson and Russell have been charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, according to the complaint. They face up to four years in prison if convicted.

The suspects, who were released on their own recognizance, are due back in court on June 18.

Lawyers for the two men were not immediately available for comment Friday.