Portland Airport baggage handler sentenced for stealing guns from luggage

A former baggage handler for Portland International Airport (PDX) has been sentenced to six months in prison for stealing guns and ammunition from passengers’ checked luggage.

The handler, named as, Deshawn Antonio Kelly, stole a total of six guns, changing the tags on the luggage he opened so they would be sent to the wrong locations and delay the passengers’ reporting of the thefts.

“This is how guns get on the street,’’ said Assistant U.S. Attorney Hannah Horsley. “This is how guns get diverted from lawful owners and end up in the hands of felons.’’

Five of the six guns were recovered and passed back to the owners, including an out-of-state police officer and a gun dealer, according to police.

Kelly, who had been intending to sell the guns, managed to pass one of them onto a friend, a convicted felon and gang member, and this gun was never recovered.

“My question is a simple one,’’ U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon asked Kelly. “Why’d you do it?’’

“I did it because I was in a tough spot,’’ Kelly responded. “We had the lights off every month. We had no vehicle. We were facing eviction.’’

Kelly, 27, worked for Portland Business Providers prior to his arrest and earned about $14 an hour, according to his lawyer.

He was caught after a Portland police detective placed replica guns in luggage as bait to determine who was stealing the firearms, narrowing it down to Kelly after six days.