Marana Police Report No Leads In C182 Theft | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date






Airborne On ANN

Airborne 11.30.15

Airborne 11.24.15

Airborne 11.25.15

Airborne 11.19.15

Airborne 11.20.15

Airborne Hi-Def On YouTube

Airborne 11.30.15

Airborne 11.24.15

Airborne 11.25.15

Airborne 11.19.15

Airborne 11.20.15

EAA/ANN AirVenture Innovation Preview

AIP-#1 Vimeo

AIP-#2 Vimeo

AIP-Part 1 YouTube

AIP-Part 2 YouTube

Thu, Mar 09, 2006

Marana Police Report No Leads In C182 Theft

Owner Believes Drug Runners Stole His Aircraft

Ten days after the theft of a 1966 Cessna 182, N3199F, from a locked hangar in Marana, AZ, local police report they still have no leads on who may have taken the aircraft. In fact, the only evidence left behind by the thieves are fingerprints lifted from a tow bar and the hangar door.

The aircraft's owner, Merle "Duane" Wetherbee, has his suspicions on who may have taken his prized aircraft, though.

"It's a drug runners airplane of choice," said Wetherbee to the Marana Northwest Explorer.

According to police reports of the crime, Wetherbee and pilot Bill Thrown last saw the aircraft (file photo of TYPE -- similar to the actual aircraft -- above) February 27, after fueling the airplane for a planned business trip the next day and locking it in the hangar.

That trip never took place. When Thrown arrived at the airport at 7:30 am on February 28, he found the hangar door open, its padlock gone... and the Skylane missing.

An instructor who arrived at the airport at around 6 am that morning told police the pilot-operated runway lights were on when he got there... and the FAA picked up an airplane, believed to be Wetherbee's, beginning at approximately 5:50 am. The aircraft later disappeared behind the Tucson mountains, before reappearing near an airfield south of Tucson.

The aircraft dropped off radar about five miles north of the border town of Nogales.

Officers have spoken with a handful of people who were at the airport during the hours the plane went missing. No one saw anything suspicious, they said.

The Marana Airport (AVQ) is home to more than 300 aircraft, and is surrounded by an 8-foot-high fence accessible at three points. Gates protect those areas, each accessible only with a code unique to each gate. Owner-supplied padlocks guard the enclosed hangars.

"I have no idea how to make an airplane more secure," Wetherbee said. "I'm pretty comfortable (saying) that it went to Mexico, and will be used in some sort of illegal activity."

Airport officials say they'll soon be changing the access codes.

While Marana, perhaps, offers a tantalizing location for aircraft theft -- about 60 miles from the Mexico border, a half-hour flight in a Skylane -- plane theft is hardly an epidemic at the airport. Only one other plane has been stolen from the airport in the past 10 years, according to current airport director Charles Mangum.

Last year, a total of 11 aircraft were reported stolen in the United States and Mexico, according to the Aviation Crime Prevention Institute.

Two of the 11, however, happened to be Cessna 182s stolen from Arizona airports.

Despite the ongoing investigation by state and federal officials, Wetherbee expects never to see his airplane again. Furthermore, he only had partial insurance on the $120,000 plane. Wetherbee says he expects to lose about $40,000 to $50,000 because of the theft.

FMI:, If you have any information on the theft, please call (520) 88-CRIME


More News

Airborne 11.25.15: Blue Origin Reusable Rocket!, AMA Reacts, Transgender Pilots

Also: UK CAA, E-Fest 2015, Citizens In Space, Gulfstream G500, Dassault Falcon Jet, CFM LEAP-1A, Tuskegee's Milton Crenchaw ANN Airborne Link: /index.cfm?do=video.playVideo&vid>[...]

Klyde Morris (11.20.15)

Klyde Is SO Ready For An Upgrade... FMI:>[...]

FlightSafety International Further Enhances Gulfstream G650 Training

Simulator Upgrades Include Autobrake Systems For Initial And Recurrent Training FlightSafety continues to enhance its Gulfstream G650 training program with upgrades to the simulato>[...]

Spirit Begins Production Of First Production RAAF P-8A

Aircraft Scheduled For Delivery In Early 2016 Spirit AeroSystems Inc. has begun production of the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) first production P-8A aircraft. Spirit started>[...]

Aero-News: Quote Of The Day (11.30.15)

"ICARUS is going to revolutionize how we approach pilot training. It provides experience to student pilots that we cannot provide right now outside of a simulator. This product wil>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus





© 2007 - 2015 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC