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    Pilot Steals Plane In Tupelo Mississippi and Is Now In Custody

    In breaking news, a pilot steals plane in Tupelo Mississippi and threatens to crash it into a Walmart.

    The local police received the information at 5 a.m.

    “With the mobility of an airplane of that type of the danger zone is much larger than even Tupelo,” police said in a news release earlier Saturday morning.

    Leslie Criss, a magazine editor who lives in Tupelo, woke up early and was watching the situation on TV and social media. Several of her friends were outside watching the plane circle overhead.

    “I’ve never seen anything like this in this town,” Criss told The Associated Press. “It’s a scary way to wake up on a Saturday morning.”

    Former state Rep. Steve Holland, who is a funeral director in Tupelo, said he had received calls from families concerned about the plane.

    “One called and said, ‘Oh, my God, do we need to cancel mother’s funeral?’” Holland said. “I just told them, ‘No, life’s going to go on.’”

    The airplane drama unfolded during a football game. Tens of thousands of college football fans were headed to north Mississippi for Saturday football games at the University of Mississippi in Oxford and Mississippi State University in Starkville. Tupelo is between those two cities.

    “The pilot departed from Tupelo Regional Airport in Tupelo, Miss., earlier this morning and circled the area,” the FAA said in a statement. The FAA says it is investigating the incident.
    Roxanne Ward, 42, told CNN the plane landed behind the Gravestown Fire Department near her home about 10:20 a.m.
    “He landed pretty hard,” she said.

    Video she shared with CNN shows the small plane largely intact in a field with law enforcement surrounding the pilot.

    Ward heard the plane coming and ran over to her father-in-law’s house to hide in the basement, she said. “That’s when we heard the thud.”
    Additionally, around 8:30 a.m. local time, the plane was north of Tupelo, police said during an earlier update.
    The Tupelo Walmart store is “currently closed and evacuated,” Charles Crowson, director of the Walmart Press Office, told CNN earlier, while the plane was airborne.
    “We’re working closely with local investigators and are referring questions to law enforcement,” he added.
    The FBI field office in Jackson, Mississippi, was involved in the incident response, a spokesperson said.

     

    Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo in New York and Kathleen Foody in Chicago contributed to this report. – Pilot Steals Plane

    Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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