A homeless man who allegedly stole a Piper Super Cub from its hangar at Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md., shortly after 2 a.m. Dec. 28 is in police custody. The man, identified as Calvin Craig Cox, 51, fled the aircraft after its propeller struck the ground near Runway 30. He was charged with felony theft, burglary, and trespass, according to press reports.
The aircraft belongs to the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Association and was removed from its hangar without the owner’s permission. A member of the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Association told AOPA that the hangar was kept locked and that there was no sign of forced entry. The FAA already has inspected the hangar.
“The Frederick airport, headquarters of AOPA, is a big proponent of Airport Watch,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of operations and international affairs. “AOPA will be following the developments of this investigation and will work to ensure future security practices prevent this type of act.”
Airport Watch, sponsored by AOPA and the Transportation Security Administration, is a voluntary program that encourages pilots to lock their hangars and aircraft, and to watch for and report suspicious activity at the airport. Pilots can report suspicious activity through the TSA’s toll-free hotline, 866/GA-SECURE. The program also offers a free online course that provides pilots with suggestions on securing their aircraft and protecting general aviation’s reputation by employing industry best practices.
GA aircraft theft is rare, according to the Aviation Crime Prevention Institute. The organization reports that only seven U.S.-registered aircraft were stolen in 2009, not counting the incident early this morning. Since 2006, the number of stolen GA aircraft per year has been in the single digits: eight in 2006, three in 2007, and five in 2008.