Man Arrested For Damaging Wrong Jet

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A 30-year-old man is in jail after causing up to $30,000 worth of damage to a former military aircraft that he thought belonged to Microsoft founding partner Paul Allen. The man was spotted inside the fence at Arlington Municipal Airport, north of Seattle, allegedly breaking pieces off the exterior of a Dornier Alpha Jet, a French/German-built trainer and light attack aircraft. But the aircraft doesn't belong to Allen. It's one of several used by Abbatare Inc. to offer type training. Allen does own an Alpha Jet. It was used as a chase plane for Scaled Composites' successful suborbital space flight that won the Ansari X Prize. Allen was the financial backer on that effort. The suspect, who Arlington Police described as "deranged and unpredictable" in a statement to the Bellingham Herald, apparently told police later that he thought Allen "was in violation of federal law by possessing a military aircraft."

Someone saw a man by the aircraft just before midnight on Feb. 2 and called police. When they arrived, they managed to coax him into climbing back over the fence to lie on the ground. They found pieces of an airplane in his pockets and on the ground around the airplane. It's not clear exactly what equipment was damaged although the police said some of the shards of plastic recovered from the man "covered some ejector equipment." Technicians are assessing the damage but airport officials told the Herald the bill could reach $30,000. The police haven't said what, if any, charges will be laid.