Seneca Stripped While Parked

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A Cedar Falls, Iowa, man who local media reports say is an officer of his local EAA chapter has been charged with systematically stripping parts from a disabled Piper Seneca to be used in his own homebuilt project. John M. Norcero was arrested last Tuesday and charged with first-degree theft. The Seneca, owned by Jerry Dwyer, of Clear Lake, has been sitting at the Waterloo Airport since it landed there after an engine failure about five years ago. Dwyer told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier he noticed an engine and prop missing in August of 2004. Now, both engines, the landing gear, instrument panel, autopilot and seats are gone. "It's just sitting there on the ground ... flat on its belly," Dwyer said. Dwyer, who owns an aircraft sales company, said he left the plane in Waterloo because he was having a hard time finding a replacement engine. Even with the blown engine, he estimated the plane to be worth $100,000 and he figures it will cost at least $50,000 to reinstall the missing parts and fix damage caused during their removal. "[The thief] chopped a hole in the side of the damn thing to get the autopilot out," he said. Norcero was booked at the local jail and then set free on a pre-trial release a few hours later.