Suspended Sentence for Homeless Plane Thief

Judge: Get a psych eval and pay the plane company back

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP

    A homeless man from Maryland was sentenced Thursday after he broke into the Frederick Municipal Airport and stole a plane.

    Clutching a paperback Bible during the Frederick County Circuit Court hearing, Calvin C. Cox, 51, politely answered Judge G. Edward Dwyer's questions. He told his public defender that he wants to get a job.

    The judge sentencee him to nine months in jail after he admitted to taking the red-and-white Piper Super Cub last year,  in an attempt to fly away from Frederick.

    After the hearing, his defense attorney said Cox took the plane because "he was homeless and he was cold.''

    On Dec. 28, Cox broke into a locked hanger at the airport. Although there is no indication he was ever a licensed pilot or aircraft mechanic, he  was able to start the plane and drive it up and down the runway.

    The plane ran off the pavement into the grass, where it stalled with its propellor stuck in the ground. Assistant State's Attorney Erin P. Moloney said a city public employee who was checking a nearby water-pumping station,  saw  the plane crash, briefly questioned Cox, and then called police. The accident caused about $12,000 worth of damage.

    In return for his guilty plea to one count of second-degree burglary, prosecutors dropped theft and trespassing charges. The judge suspended the remainder of a six-year prison term and gave Cox credit for the almost four months served.

    Cox must also submit to a psychological evaluation and stay away from the airport during his two years of supervised probation.
    The jail term includes work-release privileges in the hope that Cox will be able make at least partial restitution to the Mid-Atlantic Soaring Association, which owns the plane.