Miami Flight Attendant Arrested for Stealing $5,000 in Coins Meant for UNICEF

A lot of loose change can add up. And for Miami flight attendant Marco Costa, stealing a lot of loose change can add up to serious time behind bars.

The 56-year-old AmericanAirlines employee was arrested January 31 after investigators discovered he had stolen about $5,000 in coins meant to be donated to UNICEF.

For 20 years, AmericanAirlines has partnered with UNICEF for the global Change for Good program. Passengers on international flights are asked to donate their spare foreign coins for a good cause.

Well, it appears Costa was great at collecting the coins but not so good at making sure they got to children in need. Instead, he snatched the money for himself, but got caught in a very dumb way.

He had been storing the coins in the trunk of his 2006 Crown Victoria. In October, the car was parked for a day at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and investigators noticed the yellow car had expired Florida plates and an odd sag in the back.

Fearing explosives, the Port Authority Police Department popped the trunk. Instead of a bomb, they found bags of coins -- about 700 pounds' worth. The breakdown of the $5,000 loot was $2,900 in euros, $1,800 in British pounds, and $150 in American coins mixed in with some other currencies.

Costa was arrested January 31 and admitted to the theft in an interview with police. He was released on $100,000 bond and is due back in court in March.

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Kyle Munzenrieder