Airplane Thief Sentenced To Treatment Program

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A 23-year-old man who stole a Cirrus SR22 in San Diego last month has pleaded guilty to a felony. Skye Turner was charged with using an airplane without the owner's permission. The court referred him to a new treatment program for mentally ill offenders that provides supervision and custody, the San Diego News Network reported this week. However, if he is not accepted into the program he could be sentenced to 120 days in jail instead. Turner, who is not a pilot but has had some training, stole the keys to the airplane on Feb. 18, just a few hours after a pilot in Austin, Texas, flew his Piper Dakota into a government building. Turner reportedly had been in a dispute with his girlfriend and threatened to crash the SR22 into the ocean, according to SDNN.

Turner had been issued a student pilot certificate in 2004 but it was not renewed and expired two years later. After stealing the airplane, he flew to Palm Springs and stopped for fuel, then contacted controllers at LAX at about 2:25 a.m. after he apparently became lost in the clouds. Controllers talked him down to a safe landing. A spokesman for the controllers union told the Los Angeles Times the young man seemed "confused and disoriented, but could follow instruction."