LUMBERTON — A Lumberton man’s effort to steal a plane this week never got off the ground.
David Edward Wood, 33, of 300 W. Fifth St., Apt. 110, is charged with felony larceny in his attempted theft of a 1969 Mooney M20E single-engine plane, which is valued at $50,000, from the Lumberton Municipal Airport on Tuesday night, according to a police report. Wood is being held at the Robeson County jail under a $50,000 secured bond.
Wood apparently knew enough about aircraft to get it started, but not enough to get it airborne, said Edward Price, president of Jenesis Software in Forest City, which owns the plane.
Wood had started the plane and had moved it about 100 feet from where it was parked on a ramp before striking a telephone pole with the left wing, according to Dwayne Allen, assistant airport manager. The plane circled the pole before coming to a rest with the propeller just a few inches from the side of a building, Price said. Damage to the plane was reported at $2,500.
Wood was found walking near the airport after a call about a suspicious person was placed by James Davis, an airport employee, according to the report by police Lt. Timmy Wilkins.
A pilot who had come to retrieve belongings from his hangar saw the plane hit the pole, Allen said.
“He talked to the guy and he didn’t seem up to par,” Allen said. “He called me and I realized the man didn’t match the description of the pilot who had flown the plane in earlier that day.”
Price said the company owns several aircraft, and that the keys are usually left inside a plane in a small pouch as the possibility of someone flying off in one has never been a concern.
“We won’t do that again,” he said. “…. The scary thing about an aircraft is if someone gets inside your plane, and does something you don’t know that they’ve done, like change a setting, your life could be in danger.”