A former Southwest Airlines employee will serve six months in prison after admitting to stealing at least five firearms from checked baggage belonging to passengers passing through St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
Mark Hunter of St. Louis has previously pleaded guilty in federal court to possession of stolen firearms. He was charged in April.
According to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, the case against Hunter began in September, when the Manchester Police Department seized a pistol that had been reported stolen by a passenger from the southwest. The passenger told police that the gun was taken in his luggage.
That’s when federal investigators stepped in. Officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as the Transportation Security Administration, identified seven similar firearm thefts: all were reported as stolen from checked baggage on Southwest Airlines flights during a period of about five months between March and August. 2020.
From there, investigators matched the Southwest baggage handlers’ schedules with the dates of the flights – ultimately putting Hunter in their sights.
A press release describes how the case was closed: “Records indicated that Hunter was working and had access to baggage from which other firearms had been reported stolen. Hunter was approached by officers and admitted to the theft of five firearms from checked baggage which he handled as a Southwest Airlines baggage handler at St. Louis Lambert Airport. ”
In addition to the six-month jail term, Hunter was sentenced to an additional three years of supervised release.
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. Email the author at [email protected]
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