A former airport employee is in police custody after stealing a plane on Saturday morning. The man, identified as Cory Wayne Patterson by police, threatened to crash the plane into a Mississippi Walmart. However, Cory eventually landed in a field, where authorities arrested him.
According to Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka, Cory was an employee of Tupelo Aviation during the last 10 years. He worked as a lineman, responsible for refueling planes.
But on Saturday, he opted out of his normal job duties. During a press conference, the boss revealed that Cory stole the twin-engine plane at 5:08 a.m. local time. Cory then took off from Tupelo Regional Airport in a Beechcraft King Air C90. According to cnn, the plane he stole was reportedly fully fueled the night before, but it’s unclear if Cory refueled.
Man threatens to crash into local Walmart around 5:30 am
Shortly before 5:30 a.m. local time, Cory called 911 in Lee County. While speaking with authorities, he threatened to crash the plane into the West Main Walmart located in Tupelo. Chief Quaka said Walmart, surrounding stores and main streets were evacuated while the plane was still in the air.
According to CBScory has minimal experience with airplanes, including some flight instruction. However, she does not have a pilot’s license or landing plan experience.
Tupelo police negotiators convinced Cory to abandon his plan to break into the chain store. With the help of a licensed pilot, the police and Cory made a plan for him to land the plane at the Tupelo airport. But, Cory changed the deal at the last minute. Instead, he began traveling northwest.
The plane was in the sky for more than five hours, for CBS. Within that time, Cory posted a message on Facebook essentially saying goodbye. Police said he was running out of fuel around 9:30 a.m. local time. About 30 minutes later, Cory landed the plane in a field several miles from Ripley, Mississippi.
Cory faces stolen plane charges; no injuries reported
Authorities took Cory into custody shortly after landing. He faces charges of grand theft and terroristic threats. The aircraft sustained minimal damage, despite eyewitness reports that it landed “hard.”
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident. No one, including Cory, was injured during today’s events.
The plane over North MS is down. Grateful that the situation was resolved and no one was injured. Special thanks to the local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies who handled this situation with the utmost professionalism.
— Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) September 3, 2022