Man Steals Van, Tries to Hijack Plane After Jumping on Wing

So this happened: On Tuesday a 37 year old man riding a bicycle jumped into a van after the owner got out of it to get his tools.

The man stole the van and drove off. He “hit a curb and blew a tire” but still continued to drive 5 miles — to the Lakeland, Florida airport — where he drove through an aviation maintenance company and onto the ramp.

The alleged van thief “jumped onto the wing of a taxing 1978 Piper PA-28R Arrow” and “started pulling on the planes door to gain entry.”

A responding police officer pursued the man onto the wing and pulled him off the aircraft “just as he had gained entry.” The two men fell onto the concrete. The officer took the wannabe hijacker into custody.

The officer claims the man “made a spontaneous statement” admitting that he planned to force the pilot to fly him “somewhere.” Charges include trespassing, two counts of grand theft, “Burglary to an Occupied Conveyance (Airplane)” and resisting arrest.

(HT: Ken A.)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. In the title, can you please change “Man” to “Florida man” ? It would be so much better….

  2. In the title, can you please change “Jumping on Wing” to “Seeing View from the Wing” ? It would be so much better….

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