crimesider

David Vang, Minneapolis airport worker, charged with stealing guns from checked luggage, officials say

David Vang CBS Minnesota

(CBS/AP) MINNEAPOLIS - A St. Paul man was charged with stealing shotguns, revolvers and other weapons from checked luggage at a Minneapolis airport, officials said Monday.

David Vang, 23, faces 11 felony counts, including 10 counts of theft of a firearm. He will be making his first court appearance on April 25 in Hennepin County.

Pat Hogan, spokesman for the Metropolitan Airports Commission, said Vang was employed by a Texas firm to maintain the belt that carried checked baggage of passengers who had connections through the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Authorities learned in September 2012 that weapons were being stolen, so they set up surveillance cameras.

A review of footage showed Vang removing items from checked luggage and taking them to an unsecured employee parking ramp where his wife was waiting in a vehicle, the criminal complaint said.

Vang was arrested in October 2012 and is no longer working at the airport, Hogan said.

Several boxes containing firearms, a crossbow, iPads, laptops, mobile phones, jewelry and other electronics were removed from Vang's apartment, the complaint said. Authorities said he had 716 stolen items, valued at more than $84,000.

According to the complaint, Vang initially claimed the weapons and other items fell out of luggage as it came down the line, but later admitted to stealing, saying he was doing it since last summer.

"When asked why he did it, Defendant Vang stated that he just wanted the items," the complaint said.

Hogan said authorities realized there was an issue when they started receiving reports that weapons were disappearing during passengers' connecting flights. Firearms must be packed in separate cases and scanned as a separate piece of luggage, so authorities can determine when a case containing a weapon is removed from one airplane and placed on another.

"In this case, only connecting bags were being pilfered," Hogan said. "Weapons were scanned as coming into (Minneapolis-St. Paul) but not scanned as going into the aircraft, so that's what alerted us that there was an issue here."

Hogan said thefts from luggage are rare, but the airport recommends travelers place valuables such as jewelry in their carry-on luggage. Weapons, however, must be checked.

"Fortunately, we don't deal with this kind of situation very often," Hogan said. "Once we found out about it, we were able to track him down and bring him to justice."

  • Crimesider Staff

Comments

Follow Us