He put the free in duty free.
A thief bought plane tickets to get access to the shops in JFK’s Terminal 4 and then cleaned them out of about $18,000 worth of Fitbits and fancy perfumes in four heists this year, cops said.
Eric Love, 50, of Schenectady, NY, was finally busted Tuesday when he was spotted by an airport employee inside Terminal 4’s Duty Free Store, which he hit on three previous occasions on Jan. 23, April 2, and April 14, police said.
Love — who would buy a refundable ticket to gain access into the airport and either get his money back or take a flight after his thefts — swiped 52 designer fragrances from brands including Chanel, Gucci, Tom Ford and Hugo Boss worth $14,000, cops said.
He also struck the terminal’s Hudson News Store near gate B20 on April 14 when he looted 18 Fitbit smart watches totaling almost $4,000, police said.
In that instance, Love walked into the store and unlocked the security device on the rack where the Fitbits were displayed and left.
About 15 minutes later, he returned and snagged the Fitbits from the rack and stuffed them into a Nike rolling backpack, police said.
After swiping the electronic devices, he hit the Duty Free Store where he robbed six bottles of perfume, according to cops.
Love was known to the Duty Free Store workers and one of them immediately called the Port Authority Police when he was spotted Tuesday at around 4:25 p.m. with the same rolling backpack.
Detectives arrested him near gate B23 and charged him with grand larceny, cops said.
“The Port Authority police detectives began an investigation. It became clear that the suspect purchased tickets and used that status to access the sterile area of the airport and commit the thefts,” PAPD spokesman Joe Pentangelo said.
Love has 49 prior arrests on his record including charges for several grand larcenies, petit larcenies, robberies, and criminal possession of controlled substances, police said.
He served prison time for criminal possession of stolen property in July 2010, state Department of Corrections records show. He was released after about a year.
Officials said Love did not have any stolen property on him at the time of the arrest.
However, he did have a Delta boarding pass to Miami, police said. It was not immediately clear whether Love intended to take his scheduled flight.
“The amount taken and the frequency is unusual — it’s not unprecedented — but it is unusual,” Pentangelo said.