April 20, 2012
Deputies from Compton Sheriff's Station received a call on Friday, April 20, 2012, at 7:55 AM that a man with a gun was trying to steal an airplane at the Compton/Woodley Airport, in the city of Compton. When deputies arrived they learned that a former airport flight student was trying to steal an airplane at gunpoint. The suspect, a 25 year old man from the city of Bellflower, allegedly entered the airport office and removed keys for airplanes. When the employees confronted the suspect he brandished a handgun and left the office with the keys. He went to the tarmac and entered a Cessna 152 (2 seat, single engine prop) airplane and started the engine. As Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies arrived, the suspect was revving the engine attempting to fly away in the stolen plane. Since the back part of the plane was still secured to the tarmac, he could not take off. The airplane was lurching and bucking against the chain which was holding it in place. Numerous deputies with guns drawn began yelling for the suspect to turn off the plane's engine. Finally, the suspect pulled off his headset, turned off the engine, put his hands in the air, exited the airplane and was taken into custody by sheriff's deputies. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are jointly investigating this crime. The suspect was booked by FBI agents for suspicion of aircraft piracy and taken to the Federal Metropolitan Detention Center.