Janitor charged in theft of flight officer's gun in bathroom at PHL

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A Philadelphia Airport custodian has been charged with stealing a federal air marshal's gun.

An airport janitor has been charged in connection with the theft of a Federal Flight Officer's Air Marshal issued gun at the Philadelphia International Airport.

31-year-old Victor Sheard from the 2000 block of Sigel Street is charged with Theft-Unlawful Taking, Theft-Receiving Stolen Property, Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act and related offenses.

Police say it was a matter of minutes from the time the flight officer left the public restroom in the secure section of Terminal B on Saturday until he realized he forgot his bag. But it was too late. The bag - with his gun inside - was gone.

"Immediately the pilot flagged down the nearest airport police officer, and reported that the firearm was missing," said Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector Joseph Sullivan.

Police say the Republic Airways flight officer was authorized to carry the gun as part of the Federal Flight Deck Officer Program.

During a search of the restroom and the surrounding area police learned that the janitor was seen leaving the restroom around the same time the bag was reported missing.

A police officer then got a custodial supervisor to unlock a closet located in the restroom, where in the back, wrapped in a black trash bag, the officer found the missing nylon bag with the firearm still inside.

Police say surveillance video shows that Sheard was the only person in the restroom while the officer's bag, with the gun inside, was unattended. In addition, police say he is the only person with a key to the custodial closet who was present during the time that the bag was missing.

Sixteen flights were delayed for about an hour while planes were searched.
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