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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Baggage Handler Sentenced to Prison for Stealing Passengers’ Firearms

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Baggage handler transporting checked luggage. | Image from Svitlana Hulko

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A former Southwest Airlines baggage handler received a six-month sentence for stealing firearms from passengers while working at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, Missouri.     

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Judge Stephen R. Clark of the United States District Court sentenced Mark Hunter to six months in federal prison, with three years of supervisory release after stealing firearms that traveled through St. Louis Lambert.

Per the press release, Hunter initially pleaded guilty to the charge of “knowingly possessing or receiving one or more firearms that he knew to be stolen.”

The Manchester Police Department seized a pistol from Hunter — one previously reported stolen from a passenger’s luggage. Per the passenger’s report, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Transportation Security Administration (TSA) launched an investigation.

They found that seven reported firearms thefts from passengers’ luggage on Southwest Airlines flights had traveled through Lamber Airport between March 28, 2020, to August 22, 2020.

A review of scheduling records of Southwest Airline baggage employees and the dates of the thefts of the firearms pointed at Hunter as the perpetrator. Investigators determined that Hunter was working on the days the guns had been reported stolen and had had access to baggage from which they were stolen.

According to the U.S. Justice Department news release, Hunter admitted to stealing five firearms from checked luggage while working as a baggage handler for Southwest Airlines at St. Louis Lambert Airport.

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