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Convicted Southwest Gun Thief Gets Six Months in Prison

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - June 11, 2015 : A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico during their first week of operations in Puerto Vallarta.

A former Southwest Airlines employee who confessed to stealing five guns checked as luggage will spend six months in a federal prison.
A baggage handler who admitted to taking firearms out of checked luggage will spend six months behind bars, followed by three years of supervised release.


The Justice Department announced St. Louis resident Mark Hunter was sentenced after entering into a plea agreement with the court.


Baggage Handler Admitted to Stealing Transported Firearms Out of Bags

The case of the stolen firearms was opened in September 2020, after a police department in the St. Louis region seized a pistol reported as stolen. The original report stated the weapon was taken at St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL), after the owner had checked it in with Southwest.


The case was referred to both the Transportation Security Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for investigation. As they began looking into the rash of thefts, they discovered a total of seven firearms were stolen out of luggage between March 28 and August 22, 2020. Hunter was quickly identified as a suspect.


After reviewing work schedules and theft report dates, investigators identified Hunter as a potential suspect. When questioned, the Southwest baggage handler admitted to stealing five guns from checked luggage, as he had access to them in the course of his work. It is unclear if Hunter kept the weapons or attempted to sell them off.


In federal court, Hunter plead guilty to knowingly possessing or receiving one or more firearms he knew to be stolen.

Guns Continue to Create Problems at Airports

Although airlines will transport unloaded and secured firearms as declared checked luggage, flyers improperly carrying weapons continues to be a problem for airports and security staff. According to CNN, the TSA alone has found over 4,600 guns in checked luggage, with most of them being loaded and ready to fire.

mauve December 27, 2021

So literally less time than people spend for getting caught with a single joint in a national park? And no charges for the thefts themselves.

Does Hunter get his job back in six months too?

arcticflier December 2, 2021

What is this?

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