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Employee at O’Hare accused of stealing from military foot lockers

James Matthews is accused stealing items from military foot lockers thwere going through O'Hare International Airport their way overseas.

James Matthews is accused of stealing items from military foot lockers that were going through O'Hare International Airport on their way overseas. | Photo courtesy of Chicago Police Department

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Updated: August 27, 2014 6:09AM

A convicted murderer who works at a cargo services company at O’Hare Airport is accused of stealing two computers from military footlockers being shipped overseas so he could sell them and use the cash for car repairs.

James Matthews, who works for Swissport International Ltd., was caught on surveillance cameras Wednesday taking the computers, worth $500 each, from the airport’s U.S. Postal Office, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Erin Antonietti said.

The video sting was set up to investigate an employee who has been identified as stealing U.S. mail at O’Hare, according to a police report.

An intended recipient of one of the footlockers is in the Navy, serving in the Middle East, the police report said.

Matthews, 41, of Sauk Village, was caught on camera opening a large black box and removing a gray item and placing it in a Swissport truck, the police report said.

He also allegedly took a brown box from the airport’s U.S. Postal Office and put it in the same truck.

Following his arrest, Matthews told detectives, “I was wrong for what I did, but I was going to bring them back,” the police report said.

Matthews had hoped to sell the computers so he could make money to fix his car, Antonietti said.

Matthews was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a 1991 murder conviction, Antonietti said.

Judge James Brown expressed shocked that a an airport-related company would hire a convicted murderer in light of 9/11.

Brown ordered Matthews, a father of two, held in lieu of $100,000 bail Friday for two counts of felony theft.

Officials with Swissport could not be immediately reached for comment.


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