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Cops: Teen Girl Stole Plane, Took It Out for a Joyride

17-year-old arrested at Fresno Yosemite International Airport in California after crashing
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2019 11:44 AM CST

(Newser) – Teen goes for joyride, crashes into a fence—not all that odd of a story, until you consider the fact that the joyride in question was taken in an airplane. Police in Fresno, California, arrested a 17-year-old girl Wednesday morning after she crashed the plane in question into a fence at Fresno Yosemite International Airport, ABC 30 reports. Police say, per the AP, she climbed a barbed-wire fence and snuck into an area used for private planes, far from the commercial terminal, then somehow started one engine of a multi-million dollar King Air 200 two-engine plane. She then allegedly drove it around a bit before going through the aforementioned fence and hitting a building, causing substantial damage to both the plane and airport property. The incident was caught on surveillance video.

Police responding to a 911 call found her, disoriented and uncooperative per NBC News, wearing a pilot's headset in the pilot's seat. They took her into custody; she's currently in juvenile hall. The Fresno Bee reports she faces charges of theft of an aircraft. No one was injured and no passenger aircraft were endangered during the incident, which authorities do not believe was related to terrorism, and the plane never left the ground. Investigators' main question: How did she manage to start an engine and drive the plane at all? "That's still under investigation. We're not certain how she was able to accomplish those things," says Fresno Yosemite International Airport police chief. A motive is also still under investigation. The teen's mother says she last saw her daughter Tuesday night. (Read more weird crimes stories.)

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