Airport worker charged with stealing from a blind woman

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LAMBERT AIRPORT (KPLR) – A betrayal of trust:  a St. Louis man hired to help disabled passengers get around Lambert Airport is accused of ripping off a blind woman.

Justin Gillespie, 23, is charged with felony stealing.

He worked for a company called AirServ.  Airlines contract with AirServ to help disabled passengers.  Being trustworthy is the biggest part of the job.

Lisa Whitehead of Dallas travels almost every week for work.

A medical condition makes walking difficult.

She counts on AirServ workers to help her from gate to baggage claim in a wheelchair.

“I’m very trustworthy…you can tell by the people who help me what kind of person they are, right?” she said.

A blind woman from Washington, D.C., thought the same thing Gillespie.  He broke that trust when he wheeled her to an airport restroom before taking her onto her gate for her flight home.

“Detectives learned that at some point by the time she got to her flight, there was an amount of money that was stolen,” said Lambert Airport spokesman, Jeff Lea.  “They later learned it might have been when she went to the restroom.”

“Very low, not just low, but very low.  It takes a pretty low person to do stuff like that,” said Michael Vaughn, traveling home to Shreveport, LA.

“I’m kind of mind boggled by ‘how dare him, do that to her and take advantage!’” Whitehead said.

After the victim arrived in D.C. and noticed $800 was missing, she called airport police back in St. Louis.

“[They] were able to access the surveillance system and pinpoint the approximate time she would have been coming through based on her ticket and departure and they were able to get some video evidence that linked them to the suspect,” Lea said.

As police were booking Gillespie he remarked, ‘I’m not a good thief’, a court document said.

“Did [the victim] just lose some of her independence because this gentleman took advantage of her being alone?  That’s just low.  It makes me mad.  It makes me angry,” Whitehead said.

“He’s getting paid to help her.  He’s in an airport where you pass security; you pass screening to get that job to be with people.”

It happened in January.  Gillespie has just been charged.  He's out of jail after posting bail.

Gillespie no longer works for AirServe and hasn't for months, a spokesman said.

It was against company policy to further comment on employee matters, the spokesman said.

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