Two employees at JFK airport have been charged with stealing a carton containing twelve pairs of Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star Kevin Durant’s latest line of sneakers.
Calvin Colain Nelson, 23, and Audley Russell, 47, both of Jamaica, Queens, have been charged with fourth-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree possession of stolen property for allegedly stealing, and trying to sell, Durant’s yet-to-be-released “KD8” sneakers, which were passing through JFK from a Nike factory in Taiwan on their way to Ontario, Canada. The shoes, which will retail at $200 a pair, are scheduled to hit stores in July.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown’s office, a manager for a freight company hired by Nike to oversee the shipping of the shoes discovered that they had arrived at the airport on May 9 on an Air China flight but never made it to Canada along with the rest of the shipment. After discovering the shoes were missing, the shipping manager found several of the shoes posted for sale on Instagram with the factory box and serial numbers of some of the shoes visible. The posting referred to the shoes as “the real deal.” The Instagram account, TH3CLEAN_CUT, belonged to Nelson, a security guard at JFK, court documents state.
Nelson, while being questioned by the Port Authority Police on May 27, said he bought the sneakers on May 10 from a dealer he knew and had bought from before. He said he knew the sneakers were “new heat” and had not yet been released in stores. He told the police he bought nine pairs for $2,475 and sold them for between $135 and $300 a pair, keeping one pair for himself. According to a press release from Brown’s office, Nelson also showed police text messages between him and Russell that included photographs of the shoes.
Russell works at Cargo Building 76 at JFK — through which the sneakers had passed after arriving from Taiwan. He told authorities that someone had dropped off a bag of the sneakers at his house. “I know they were stolen and they probably gave me a cut,” he allegedly told police, according to the release. “I don’t know who dropped them…I texted the sneaker guy on the phone with pictures and spoke to him on the phone the next day. He gave me $80 to $100 a pair. I didn’t know how hot the sneakers were. I would have asked for more money.”
If convicted, Nelson and Russell could each face up to four years. They were released after being charged and are scheduled to return to court on June 18.
Durant himself recently posted a teaser about the impending release of the KD8 sneakers.