A longtime airport worker is in police custody after he stole a plane early Saturday morning. The man identified as Cory Wayne Patterson by police, threatened to crash the plane into a Walmart in Mississippi. However, Cory eventually ended up in a field – where authorities arrested him.
According to Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka, Cory was an employee of Tupelo aviation for the last 10 years. He worked as a lineman – responsible for refueling the planes.
But on Saturday he decided to relocate outside of his normal work 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 did the refueling.
Man threatens to break into local Walmart at around 5:30 am
Just 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 in Tupelo. Chief Quaka said the Walmart, surrounding businesses and Main Street were evacuated while the plane was still airborne.
According to CBS, Cory has minimal aircraft experience, including some flight instruction. However, he has neither a pilot’s license nor experience with landing plans.
Tupelo police negotiators convinced Cory to abandon his plan to crash 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 Tupelo Airport. But Cory changed the agreement at the last minute. Instead, he began traveling northwest.
According to CBS, the plane was in the sky for more than five hours. Within that time, Cory posted a message on Facebook essentially saying goodbye. Police said he ran 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 is charged with grand larceny and terrorist threats. The plane sustained minimal damage, despite testimonies that it landed “hard.”
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident. No one, including Cory, was injured during today’s events.
The plane crashed over North MS. Luckily, the situation resolved and no one was injured. Special thanks to the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies who have handled this situation with the utmost professionalism.
— Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) September 3, 2022