A Midwest car thief has found a novel way to regularly snatch a set of wheels without breaking into the vehicle or forcing its driver to give up the keys.
First, he pretends to be a pilot.
Then he goes to a municipal airport and asks to borrow the crew car.
Some municipal airports provide such a car, as a courtesy, to allow pilots to visit a restaurant while waiting for passengers to conduct business. The passengers usually have rented a car or arranged for someone to pick them up and later return the passengers to the airport for the flight home. Pilots sometimes are stuck all day at the airport waiting on the passengers.
Normally, airports check a pilot’s driver’s license before handing over keys to the crew car.
But this thief apparently gives fake information, according to Ottawa, Kan., police, who are trying to figure out who pilfered the Ottawa Municipal Airport crew car last Wednesday.
The thief said he was David Bullock before leaving in the white 1995 Ford Crown Victoria with a Kansas government license tag registered to the city of Ottawa, police said.
When the car never came back, airport staff called police.
So far, police have determined that the man arrived at the Ottawa airport at 6:43 p.m. Wednesday in a white 2000 Ford Crown Victoria belonging to the Cameron (Mo.) Municipal Airport. He wiped down the interior and exterior of the Cameron car before taking the Ottawa airport’s Crown Vic.
On Monday, authorities found the Ottawa car in Arkansas at Clarksville Municipal Airport. It had been left there over the weekend, police said.
And the Clarksville crew car?
Ottawa police Tuesday released surveillance video photos of the thief standing in the Ottawa airport’s lobby. They ask anyone with information about the man to call the Police Department at 785-242-1700.