Two United Airlines employees were questioned in July about a series of thefts of guns from luggage checked through the airline at O'Hare Airport -- and no such thefts have been reported since then, a Chicago Police commander said Thursday.
No charges have been brought against the employees, who were suspected of stealing up to 10 guns -- including an M-4 assault carbine -- since Jan. 2, said Michael Patton, police commander at O'Hare.
"We've talked to United, and they tightened up their security," Patton said.
The victims include a Chicago Police officer, a soldier deploying overseas and a sailor.
Patton said he was not aware of guns being reported stolen from luggage checked through other airlines at O'Hare or Midway.
5 FOUND IN STORAGE AREA
Among the victims was a 25-year-old Army soldier from Schererville, Ind. He was flying from Chicago to Denver on Jan. 2 before being deployed overseas, Patton said. The soldier checked a .45-caliber Para-Ordnance semiautomatic handgun in his luggage. The weapon was missing when the plane landed and has not been recovered, Patton said.
Seven gun owners have reported a total of 10 firearms stolen from luggage checked in to United Airlines at O'Hare this year -- but five of the guns were later found in the airline's baggage storage area, Patton said.
About a dozen guns a day are checked in luggage through United at O'Hare, officials say.
Gun owners must fill out a declaration form at the counter. A gun is placed in a locked, sealed box, and ammunition is placed in a separate box, Patton said. The boxes are packed into luggage.
The guns were reported stolen between Jan. 2 and July 7, Patton said.
NO ARRESTS 'SO FAR'
Among other missing weapons are a .45-caliber pistol owned by a 21-year-old Waukegan area man traveling Jan. 7; two .45-caliber Glock pistols owned by a 38-year-old Chicago Police officer going to Louisville, Ky., on May 19, and a .38-caliber handgun owned by a 56-year-old Chicago man traveling to New Orleans on July 7, Patton said.
The five weapons initially reported stolen but later recovered include a .45-caliber Ruger handgun owned by a 23-year-old sailor; a .45-caliber handgun owned by the Colorado man whose M-4 assault weapon also was found, and two .40-caliber Glock pistols owned by a 46-year-old Chicago woman.
"We have brought two suspects in from United Airlines, but no arrests have been made so far," Patton said. "Since the interviews on July 27, there have been no thefts."
A spokeswoman for United did not return a call seeking comment.
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The suspect is not linked to thefts of guns from airport luggage.
Several handguns have been stolen after being checked by passengers on UA flights departing O'Hare Int'l Airport.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been "a handful" of firearm thefts from luggage being handled by United personnel.
As many as a dozen guns disappeared from bags checked at the United terminal this year and in 2005.