Denver Airport Employee Charged with Multiple Gun Thefts from Checked Baggage

Melvin Deandre Lewis, 24 is accused of stealing firearms from checked luggage at the Denver International Airport.  (Photo: CBS)

Flying with firearms always involves risk, but you may want to avoid the Denver International Airport (DIA).

An employee at the DIA has been fired and charged with multiple felonies for stealing guns from checked baggage, incidents which occurred as part of an “upswing” in reports of baggage theft, local media reports.

The suspect, Melvin Deandre Lewis, 24, worked for Air Serv, a vendor that handles bags and other services for airlines. Denver police believe Lewis stole firearms on three separate occasions earlier this year.

DIA police commander Tony Lopez told CBS4, “We’re confident his arrest sent a message to anyone else at DIA in that function that intends to commit a crime that crime doesn’t pay.”

However, Lewis has maintained his innocence, telling a reporter, “No, that was never me… that’s not me. I never took anything out of no bag. I’m not really worried about it.”

The thefts come alongside numerous similar incidents at the DIA involving the disappearance of watches, earrings, laptops and sentimental items from checked baggage.

Police did not indicate how the stolen firearms were being transported or how Lewis knew which bags contained firearms.

The Transportation Security Administration requires all firearms to be checked, unloaded, and stored in locked, hard-shell cases before takeoff. The locks must not be “TSA approved,” as the passenger is the only person who should be capable of opening the case.

If the firearms were being transported in stand-alone gun cases, Lewis would have had to break the locks to steal the guns.

Unfortunately, some airlines may have made Lewis’s job easier than it should have been.

These airlines require bags with firearms to be labeled with “steal me” tags (Return to BSO, “Baggage Security Office”) that instruct baggage handlers to transport bags to airport security. When the luggage arrives at the destination, the firearm owner must retrieve their firearm from airport security rather than the baggage claim carousel.

Because few other items besides firearms require “steal me” tags to be affixed, they tell baggage workers exactly which bags contain firearms.

Firearm owners can deter thieves by purchasing high-quality cases with multiple padlock locations. Some cases can only be locked from a single point on the front, which allows thieves to more easily pry the lid open from the sides.

High-quality padlocks are also a good idea. Local Denver media did not report how Lewis broke the locks, but it’s safe to assume that stronger locks would have provided a more effective deterrent.

If you have a firearm (or any item) stolen from a checked bag, Commander Lopez recommended contacting the airport immediately. Travelers typically wait until they return from their trip to report the theft, which makes identifying the thief much more difficult.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Colonialgirl October 9, 2017, 5:51 pm

    For GOD’S SAKE ; Tell those STUPID AIRLINES to CEASE “REQUIRING” those ASININE
    “steal me” tags (Return to BSO, “Baggage Security Office”) TAGS.
    If they REQUIRE that and your firearm gets stolen SUE the damn airlines its THEIR fault !!

  • Scotty Gunn October 6, 2017, 2:12 pm

    Dinnadu Nuffin

  • angelo quiles October 6, 2017, 12:43 pm

    HURRAAy, one more thief apprehended

  • Michael Keim October 6, 2017, 10:55 am

    Olbermann is an ignorant asshole.

  • SuperG October 5, 2017, 11:54 am

    dindoo

  • John R Pyles 111 October 3, 2017, 10:59 pm

    remember that young man has his day in court,INNOCENT until proven guilty

    • Henri Dumond October 6, 2017, 9:37 am

      While I wholeheartedly agree, maybe he shouldn’t have been in possession of the stolen gun(s) and trying to pawn it;
      “According to the Denver District Attorney’s Office, the DIA thefts, first reported by CBS4’s Brian Maass, involve one count of felony theft, although the beef corresponds to three incidents involving separate victims — one on April 13, a second on May 4 and a third the next day, May 5. Lewis is also facing a charge of violating the Pawnbrokers Act for trying to sell one of the guns that vanished from luggage at the airport, which led directly to his bust.”
      That info is from http://www.westword.com/news/melvin-lewis-charged-with-stealing-guns-at-denver-international-airport-9536982 which looks… DOOBIOUS… LoL

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