Manhattan criminal defense lawyer Henry Weil, 62, is in prison over accusations that he snatched a bag full of cash from a checkpoint screening area at Newark Liberty Airport, police said Saturday.
Weil, who practices criminal defense and immigration law out of his office on Broadway in Chinatown, allegedly snagged the unattended bag from at Terminal C inside the New Jersey airport about 9:15 a.m. Friday, according to a report in the New York Daily News.
After taking $700 cash and a Visa gift card valued at $130, Weil crumpled the bag into a ball and threw it in a corner, according to Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo. But the attorney claimed that he actually intended to find the property’s rightful owner.
Port Authority Police Officers reviewed surveillance video, which showed the man grabbing the bag, then searched the terminal for the thief.
Police said Weil was located at a nearby gate. Upon being confronted, he readily gave up the money and gift card and showed them where he discarded the bag.
“Those items were lost and going to be returned,” Weil told the Daily News Saturday. “I did not take anybody’s property.”
Weil was charged with theft by unlawful taking and is expected in court on Jan. 30, officials said.
According to Weil, he found the bag mixed in with his items in a plastic bin as it came out of the security scanner. There was no identification in the bag — which he claims he intended to return to the owner, the Daily News reported.