GA Airport Proves An Easy Target...

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Thief Crashes In Stolen Cessna 172...

A Cessna 172 was stolen from its hangar about 6:30 a.m. Sunday at Brazoria County Airport, near Houston, Texas. More than a dozen hangars were broken into and at least one other airplane was taxied onto the field and abandoned. The thief finally settled into a 172 with the key in it, loaded it with ... a few six-packs of cold beer (you were more concerned?) ... opened up the pilot's operating handbook, and took off into the fog. He hit power lines less than two miles from the runway. The thief left the airplane a broken heap of metal on the ground, and disappeared. Tuesday, police arrested Louis Paul Kadlecek and charged him with the theft. Police said he had been drinking for four days to celebrate his 21st birthday and had never flown an airplane before. "This guy used up all the luck he is ever going to have," Louis Jones, county aviation director, said Monday. "To hit the power lines and walk away unhurt is unbelievable." The airplane's owner said the 172 had about an hour's worth of fuel on board, and he had left the key in it, but it was in a locked hangar. Brazoria County Chief Deputy Charles Wagner told KHOU News that the suspect was just taxiing around in the 172 when "all of a sudden he said, why not go for it? ... He pulled back on it and it took off. Taking off is not that hard. It's getting down that's the problem." Wagner said Kadlecek knew the airport layout because he had performed community service there after a previous arrest.