MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 23-year-old MSP Airport worker has been accused of stealing hundreds of items from checked baggage, including firearms, iPads and phones, according to charges filed by Hennepin County.
In February, David Vang, of St. Paul, was charged by summons with 10 felony counts of theft of a firearm and one felony count of theft over $5,000 in connection to the alleged incidents beginning in June or July of 2012 through October 2012.
According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 4, 2012, MSP Airport Police received a report of theft from the checked luggage of a Delta Airlines passenger. The day before, the theft victim checked his BowTech Insanity Compound bow at the Bozeman, Mont. airport, flew to MSP and continued to Flat, Ala. When his luggage arrived in Alaska, the bow was missing, along with numerous other items.
It was the latest in a serious of thefts from checked luggage at MSP International Airport.
After further investigation, two hidden CCTV cameras were installed in the area where the thefts were believed to be occurring – at the MSP Airport. A follow-up review of the footage revealed the airport employee, Vang, removing items from checked luggage and placing them in an area hidden from view. He eventually transported the items to an unsecured employee parking ramp and into a waiting vehicle, which was driven by his wife, 21-year-old Vue Xiong, according to the complaint.
The couple was arrested on Oct. 19, 2012.
In Vang’s apartment, authorities discovered labeled boxes containing multiple iPads, laptops, projectors, mobile phones, cameras, purses, clothing, firearms, a crossbow, ammunition, hunting and fishing gear, and other items, the complaint said. He did not have permission to take or possess the items.
Ten firearms were found in Vang’s living room closet, including pistols, revolvers, shotguns and a rifle.
Authorities estimate the total value of all the items at approximately $84,379.97.
In a post-Miranda interview, Vang initially claimed that the weapons and other items fell out of the bags as they came down the line, but eventually admitted to stealing the items and said he began stealing items in June or July of 2012. When asked why, Vang said he “just wanted the items,” according to the complaint.
Airport spokesman Patick Hogan advises travelers to pack valuables in their carry-on luggage whenever possible for maximum protection.
“Such thefts are rare, but they do occur. Nearly 20,000 people work at MSP International Airport, and while most are honest, law-abiding citizens, there are likely to be a few in such a large group who aren’t as trustworthy,” said Hogan.
Vang’s wife also faces one count of felony theft over $5,000.