Las Vegas

Police Trainer's Gun Stolen Off SFO Baggage Carousel

Owner says he followed protocol and blames the airline after the firearm arrived at the airport earlier on a different flight

A gun belonging to someone who trains police officers is on the streets after it was stolen from a baggage carousel at San Francisco International Airport, according to its owner.

The gun’s owner said he did everything by the book and blames United Airlines for his gun ending up in the hands of suspected thieves. The man, who didn’t want to be identified, has a gun permit and trains police officers.

The gun's owner said he checked in his gun with TSA at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, as is protocol, but it was apparently shipped to SFO on a different flight after his was delayed.

"This is a nightmare of anybody who owns a firearm," the man said.

The gun was in a locked case, with an airline label indicating there is a gun inside. But the gun arrived at SFO well before its owner.

"It was put on a carousel for hours until somebody just stuck around, noticed it not being removed," the owner said. "So they just took it. Literally just walked out with it."

In a statement, United said, "We have filed a police report and are working with local authorities to investigate this customer’s missing item. The item was unloaded onto the correct baggage carousel for these types of baggage, and we are using surveillance videos to look into what happened. The correct procedure for the baggage was followed."

Air travel expert Mike McCarron said the gun should never have been on an airport carousel but should have been kept in a locked area until the owner claimed it in person. It's the airline’s responsibility, he said.

The gun owner said the last thing he wants to hear is someone was injured or killed with his gun.

"This could fall on me. On my conscience," he said. "Somebody could get hurt because my gun is out there."

Neither SFO officials nor San Francisco police, who run the airport police bureau, responded to requests for comment.

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