OKLAHOMA CITY - A man was arrested at Will Rogers World Airport last week after a loaded handgun, which was reported stolen this past summer, was found in his bag during a security checkpoint screening.
Robert Vincent Spanhanks, 27, was booked into the Oklahoma County jail November 15 on charges of receiving or possessing a stolen firearm and bringing a prohibited weapon into a TSA checkpoint. He was released Friday after posted $1,000 bond, according to jail officials. Formal charges have not been filed.
"We do recover stolen firearms fairly frequently, (but) this is the first time I have heard of one going through a TSA checkpoint," said Oklahoma City Police spokesperson Megan Morgan.
A TSA employee called police to the airport's west checkpoint at around 8:00 p.m. Thursday after spotting the image of a pistol in the x-ray scanner. According to a police report, the semi-automatic handgun with a rainbow finish, was loaded with five rounds. Police later discovered the gun was reported stolen from southern Oklahoma over the summer.
"The individual was actually trying to get through security, security showed that there was a gun inside one of his bags, called police over. Our officers ran the serial number through our crime information unit and found that it was actually reported stolen out of Durant," Morgan said.
According to a report filed with the Durant Police Department on July 18, a woman told police the gun was stolen from her car, parked in her garage in the 100 block of Lynn Haven sometime July 1 and July 9. She told police the gun, a Sig Sauer P938 9mm with a rainbow slide, and a magazine were stolen from the vehicle's console, but $200 cash and a wedding ring was left behind.
The report said she "waited to report the gun stolen" because "she has a few friends who might have stolen it" and "wanted to give them a chance to give it back." However, she told police no one admitted to taking the gun.
Police reports and court records don't indicate a connection between Spanhanks and the woman who reported the gun stolen. Spanhanks, who has an Aravada, Colorado address, is listed as the owner of an Ardmore gardening supply store, in police reports and state records.
Firearms and ammunition is not allowed in carry-on bags. Travelers must pack firearms in a locked, hard-sided container, placed in checked bags, and declared to the airline at check-in. Small arms ammunition must be packed in a secure case, in checked bags.
Thousands of firearms are discovered at TSA checkpoints each year. In 2017, the TSA discovered nearly 4,000 firearms in carry-on bags; 84 percent of those weapons were loaded. Two months ago, TSA employees at Will Rogers airport found two loaded guns during security screenings of two different passengers. Those weapons were confiscated and the passengers were later allowed to continue on their travels.