Suspected Thief Crashes Helicopter at Sacramento Airport

Authorities are investigating an attempted helicopter theft that led to a crash in California.

According to KCRA, the incident occurred early Wednesday at Sacramento Executive Airport, where an unnamed trespasser allegedly tried to start four choppers on the tarmac. After several failed attempts, the suspect reportedly managed to operate one and began taking off; but just moments later, the would-be thief lost control of the Bell 429 aircraft and crashed within the airport’s perimeters. The individual then fled the scene before police arrived.

Officers said they found the damaged chopper on its side with a cracked tail boom and smashed rotors. They also reported seeing a debris field that spanned hundreds of yards. No injuries have been reported.

Capitol Helicopters, which owns and operates the vehicle, confirmed an investigation is underway. The probe involves various local and federal departments, including the Sacramento Police Department, the FBI, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Sometime early this morning several helicopters operated by our company were vandalized by an individual unknown to us, and one aircraft was severely damaged,” the company wrote in a statement. “All our employees are safe, and we do not believe that anyone was injured in today’s events. This incident is currently under investigation by several state and federal authorities. We are hopeful that the people responsible are located quickly. We have no further information to report at this time. We appreciate the support from all the agencies and individuals involved.”

There have been no arrests in connection to the incident; however, authorities say they identified a person of interest after reviewing surveillance video and speaking to witnesses. The suspect’s motive remains unclear.

According to the FBI, destruction of an aircraft is a federal felony.

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