A worker at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport was arrested for stealing shotguns, revolvers, and other weapons from passengers’ checked bags. Over the course of eight months, David Vang allegedly also took jewelry and other valuables totaling $84,000 from the luggage.
Vang, 23, is charged with 11 felony counts, 10 of them for theft of a firearm.
A spokesman for the Metropolian Airports Commission, Pat Hogan, said Vang was hired to maintain the baggage belt by a Texas firm, although Vang himself is from St. Paul. Hogan said that when authorities realized last September weapons were disappearing from luggage on connecting flights, they set up surveillance cameras.
"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."
Vang was arrested in October and no longer works at the airport, Hogan noted.
Authorities recovered 716 stolen items from Vang’s apartment, including iPads, jewelry, firearms, a crossbow, mobile phones and other electronics valued at $84,000.
According to the criminal complaint, Vang originally said the items must have fallen out of luggage. Later he admitted he had been stealing since last summer.
"When asked why he did it, Defendant Vang stated that he just wanted the items," the complaint said.
"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.”
Vang is expected to appear in court April 25.