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Ex-FedEx worker pleads guilty in US heist plot

A former FedEx worker admitted Thursday to tipping off thieves who hijacked a company truck in Manhattan and held its driver hostage for hours in a brazen but bungled heist, prosecutors said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A former FedEx worker admitted Thursday to tipping off thieves who hijacked a company truck in Manhattan and held its driver hostage for hours in a brazen but bungled heist, prosecutors said.

Edward Flores pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to commit robberies, including a second FedEx truck theft scheme that investigators foiled shortly before it was to happen, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan said.

Flores, 34, faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing, set for Aug. 6. His lawyer didn't immediately respond to office telephone and cell phone messages Thursday evening.

FedEx Corp. spokesman Jim McCluskey said the case "sends a strong message that if anyone does something wrong like this, they're going to get caught."

Prosecutors said Flores, who was a driver for Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx, gave the hijackers cell phones, company uniform items and information on truck routes and timing before the heists.

The first was on Dec. 20, 2007, when suspects flashing guns and police-like badges commandeered a FedEx Express truck filled with holiday presents. Authorities said the robbers kidnapped and handcuffed that truck's driver — who wasn't Flores — before releasing him, unhurt, more than four hours later.

The suspects believed the truck carried millions of dollars' worth of diamonds but couldn't get at the locked-up load, prosecutors said. Nothing was missing when the truck was found abandoned in Brooklyn.

Investigators thwarted a similar hijacking planned for Dec. 4, 2008, prosecutors said.

Cases are continuing against several other defendants.