Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 | 11:38 a.m.
A former McCarran International Airport baggage handler has been sentenced to five years for stealing guns from the checked baggage of a Las Vegas police officer and the U.S. Air Force.
Salvatore Lanzafame, 21, was sentenced Monday to 63 months in prison and three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro. His sentence was increased because there were more than three firearms involved, the firearms were stolen and he was trafficking the firearms, said Greg Brower, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Lanzafame pleaded guilty in September 2008 to two counts of possession and sale of a stolen firearm, theft of government property and unlawful possession of a machine gun.
Brower said Lanzafame, a handler for TGS Aviation Services, first stole a 9mm semi-automatic pistol from a Metro Police officer’s checked bag on June 14, 2007. He then sold the pistol for $350 to a 17-year-old in Sioux Falls, S.D., by shipping it in a checked bag of an Allegiant Airlines flight. He then shipped the gun’s two magazine clips, ammunition, leather magazine pouch and gun lock key to the juvenile using United Parcel Service, authorities said.
Then, Lanzafame stole two fully automatic rifles on Aug. 24, 2007, with the aid of another baggage handler, Brower said. The rifles were in a locked “pelican” gun case that belonged to the U.S. Air Force and also contained two 9mm semi-automatic pistols.
Lanzafame had seen the case during an inspection by airport personnel and knew the guns were inside, authorities said. An Allegiant Airlines supervisor recovered the stolen locked case under chairs behind the Allegiant Airlines ticket counter and x-rays revealed the guns were gone.
On August 25, 2007, Lanzafame admitted to police that he and the other baggage handler had stolen the guns. The two rifles and semi-automatic pistols were retrieved from the baggage handlers' Las Vegas homes. The fully automatic rifles are classified as machine guns under federal law.