Episode 124: Vince McNally – Airplane Cargo Theft, First Responder Suicide


Retired Agent Vincent McNally served in the FBI for 31 years. He was initially hired as a clerical employee. During his agent career, he conducted and led investigations in general criminal violations, espionage, terrorism, white-collar crime, organized crime, and drug violations. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Vince McNally reviews the case of a mysterious airplane cargo theft of $1 million of negotiable securities stolen from an American Airlines flight traveling between New York and Los Angeles. Later in his career, Vince McNally became an instructor in Crisis (Hostage) Negotiations and Program Manager for the FBI’s Critical Incident Stress Management teams at the FBI Academy. Vince retired after serving as Unit Chief of the Employee Assistance Unit at FBI Headquarters. Currently, Vince McNally serves on the Board of Scientific & Professional Advisors of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress (National Center for Crisis Management). He is a Compassion Fatigue Specialist, Board Certified in Acute Traumatic Stress Management, and Board Certified in Emergency Crisis Response. He is also a Certified Employee Assistance Professional (CEAP). Vince and I continue our conversation from Episode 36 about the stress and trauma experienced by first responders that results in a higher incidence of first responder suicide. Here’s his 10 Point Suicide Reduction Program. He can be contacted via his LinkedIn profile, where he regularly posts articles on critical incidents, trauma, stress, and first responder suicide.

Unit Chief (Retired)

Vincent John McNally

1/4/1971 – 1/3/2002








The following are newspaper articles providing additional information about the airplane cargo theft case Vince worked while assigned to JFK Airport:























Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 300 episodes available on all popular podcast apps and YouTube.


  1. D.L.B.September 17, 2021

    Indeed– it is an excellent explanation. I suppose with the Towers I wouldn’t think there was much of a choice; but indeed, stopping the pain is a correct way of expressing why the people I know or know of who chose to end their lives.

    I suppose any way we look at it, it’s still utterly tragic.

    Thank you for opening up this discourse and sharing that blog writer’s quote.

    Im so glad I found your podcast. To remind you, I am virtually bedridden; I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I find your podcast and Alan Alda’s CLEAR AND VIVID a godsend

    Thank you, Jerri.

  2. D.L.B.September 13, 2021

    Hi Jerri–

    Thank you for your podcast!

    If you read my comment to Podcast episode 36 with Vince, I mentioned that I volunteered to archive Ground Zero on 9/11. I lived downtown. The photo studio I worked ot I’d was 4 blocks north of the North Tower.

    My friend who owns that loft was on her fire escape, photographing the Towers after the first and then second plane hit.

    I have to disagree with the woman who wrote the blog post you read: my friend unwittingly photographed people jumping to their deaths (she was using a wide angle lens because her building was so close to the Towers… she said she kept thinking, “Why are these black birds flying down towards the ground??” [Through her camera lens, she thought the people were birds. I’ve seen the photos: I understand her mistake given the circumstances.]).

    So, the airplanes were fully loaded with jet fuel– that burns SO incredibly hot. The terrorists knowingly flew planes that were meant to go across country so they would be fully loaded with fuel. We all agree on that, right.

    If you saw these photos taken from the top floor of a building only 4 blocks north, you’d immediately understand that these folks didn’t jump to their deaths because they chose to do so rather than burn to death. You cannot possibly stand there… with your back being burned by burning jet fuel: these folks got as far away from the burning fuel and flames as they could. You CANNOT choose to stand in one place and burn to death. Do you see what I mean. If you saw the flames coming out of the broken windows… they had no choice.

    That’s the difference between what I’m saying and what the blog post woman said: she posits that these folks had a choice. It used to bother me starting ON 9/11 when folks would say “WHY did they jump. WHY didn’t they wait for help?”

    They were starting to burn to death.

    Again. A person cannot stand still and burn to death without trying to get away from the flames.

    One thing I will say, is no one kills themselves because they want to die; they kill themselves because they can no longer stand the pain.

    In the above quote, I’m talking about mental pain. However, I think it applies to the poor souls who had no choice but to jump in order not to burn to death.

    1. Jerri WilliamsSeptember 14, 2021

      I understand what you’re saying. To use the word “chose” doesn’t indicate the desperation in that “decision” to get away from the pain, but I believe it is still an excellent explanation of why someone commits suicide.


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