Plane Theft Sparks Security Concerns

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If you think it couldn't happen to you at your small, safe, everyone-knows-everyone-else local airport, Albert Paul, of Bergen County, N.J., would beg to differ. Nearby Lakewood Municipal Airport is planning to install a perimeter fence and a security gate after Paul's Cessna was hot-wired and flown halfway across the country to Minnesota, via Canada, last August. Richard DeMartini was arrested a month later after the plane was found at Springfield Municipal Airport near his Minnesota home. It had been only slightly damaged. Lakewood Township Airport Authority chairman Richard Orne said they're working on putting up an eight-foot chain-link fence topped with barbed wire around the airport and installing an electronic passkey gate in direct response to the theft. He said the airport authority board members were "flabbergasted" by the theft, which apparently happened in front of an airport employee. Although authorities quickly ruled out terrorism as a motive for the theft, the airplane's owner is wondering why he wasn't interviewed by security agencies, and he's also wondering how the aircraft was allowed into Canada on a refueling stop.