ST. LOUIS – Mark Hunter of St. Louis, Missouri, appeared before United States District Court Judge Stephen R. Clark on today’s date and was sentenced to six months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. Hunter previously pleaded guilty for knowingly possessing or receiving one or more firearms that he knew to be stolen.
Pursuant to the plea agreement, on September 25, 2020, the Manchester Police Department seized a pistol that had been reported stolen. A passenger of Southwest Airlines, who was traveling through St. Louis Lambert Airport previously reported that the firearm was stolen out of his luggage.
Subsequently, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Transportation Security Administration (TSA) initiated an investigation and identified seven reported thefts of firearms from luggage checked on Southwest Airlines flights that had traveled through Lambert Airport between March 28, 2020 to August 22, 2020.
During the investigation, which included reviews of scheduling records of Southwest Airline baggage employees and the dates of the thefts of the firearms, Hunter, a baggage employee for Southwest Airlines, became the target of the investigation. Records indicated that Hunter was working and had access to baggage from which other guns had been reported stolen. Hunter was approached by agents and admitted to the theft of five firearms from checked luggage he handled in his capacity as a Southwest Airlines baggage handler at St. Louis Lambert Airport.
This case was investigated by the Manchester Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Transportation Security Administration.