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Pilot flees after illegally landing plane on Cape May Coast Guard beach

The president of the company that owns the plane says it was her stepson.

June 25, 2018 - 6:37 am

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.

CAPE MAY, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Authorities in New Jersey are searching for a man who they say stole a plane, took it for a joy ride, and ran off last Sunday.

Cell phone video shows onlookers in awe as the small plane careens through the sky. In the video, a small plane can be seen spinning, swirling, flying erratically, and coming dangerously close to homes and businesses before illegally landing on Coast Guard beach in Cape May.

The plane came to a landing around 8 p.m. Security cameras captured the landing, but when police arrived on the scene, the pilot was nowhere to be found. 

Barbra Tomalino is the president of Paramount Air Service in Cape May County near Wildwood, the company the plane was stolen from.

"One of our mechanics, who also is my stepson, decided to take one of the planes out and go for a joy ride," she said. "We didn't realize it, because we were all closed up for the day and didn't know anything about it until 11 o'clock. That's when the police came by to let us know we had an airplane at the coast guard base."

She says nothing like this has ever happened at her company.

"What his motivation was is beyond me," Tomalino said. "It's unbelievable."

She says they're working with the FAA, the Coast Guard and police as they try to figure out just what happened.

Lt. John Bobick with the Cape May City Police Department said they have a warrant to arrest the plane's pilot.

"For a single charge at this time, of criminal trespass," he said.


KYW Newsradio's Tim Jimenez and Justin Udo contributed to this report.