Written by attorney Jeremy S Geigle

Felony Theft Charges for Stealing Airplane

Joshua Paul Calhoun, 28, tried to steal an airplane by jump-starting it with a pickup truck battery.

He arrived at a small airport in Athens, Texas just after sunrise. Calhoun had his eyes on a single-prop Beechcraft Bonanza plane that was tied down with three ropes, but when he realized that the plane’s battery was dead, he attached it to the battery of his truck with jumper cables. However, the engine still wouldn’t start.

From a distance, retired pilot Carroll Dyson had been watching Calhoun. Dyson knew the plane belonged to the Pearah family and thought Calhoun may have been related, so he approached him and offered to help him jump-start the airplane.

As he was driving away, Dyson saw Calhoun take off with the cockpit door still open. Realizing something was wrong, he called the plane’s owners. Calhoun flew the plane about five miles before crashing into some trees. He was arrested shortly after.

In Arizona, a person commits theft if, without lawful authority, they knowingly:

Control property of another with the intent to deprive the other person of such property.

Depending on the value of the plane, Calhoun could be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony for his theft.

Assuming that the plane is worth over $1,000, Calhoun would be charged with felony theft in Arizona. A felony theft charge can earn offenders in Arizona significant fines and jail time.

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