NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A Florida man is behind bars after he attempted to steal an airplane at the New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport so he could fly to California to meet his girlfriend while carrying nearly 500 grams of marijuana, according to the New Smyrna Beach Police Department.
On Saturday, officers were alerted that a stolen vehicle had been found at the airport, and while in the process of locating that vehicle, officers were flagged down by a man who said it was his vehicle that was stolen.
The victim told officers that a man unknown to him jumped into the back of his truck and offered him $1,000 for a ride, according to a report. The man then got out of the truck but left a grinder, scale and cellphone behind.
At the same time the victim flagged down officers to describe the incident in the truck, another officer at the airport was notified by a flight instructor that a man with a blue bag was spotted crouching on the wing of a plane station on a portion of the tarmac that was not accessible to the public.
According to a report, the man asked the flight instructor how he could fly a plane.
By the time officers reached the tarmac, the man was sitting in the right seat of the aircraft. When officers approached him, he again asked if they knew how to fly the plane. The man then jumped from the emergency exit window of the plane and was detained by officers.
After the man, identified as 22-year-old Robert Stienstra, was secured in the back of a patrol car, officers returned to the plane and took Stienstra’s duffel bag into evidence. Officers said they found Stienstra’s ID, sunglasses, headphones, cigarillos, two lighters, a pocket knife and a laptop. A glass pipe was also found and tested positive for methamphetamine, a report showed.
Next to the duffel bag was a container holding marijuana, investigators found.
“The defendant stated that he purchased the aircraft for $20,000 cash recently and he was going to fly to California to meet his girlfriend,” a report read. “He advised he did not have paperwork and did not know the person he bought it from. The defendant stated he was let onto the airfield by security. It should be known that there is no security on duty at the airport.”
While he was being processed, Stienstra told officers that he was the manager for a medical marijuana dispensary and that he was transporting the marijuana to California, according to a report.
Investigators said Stienstra had nearly 500 grams of marijuana on him and that he illegally trespassed on New Smyrna Beach Airport property.
Stienstra was taken to the Volusia County Jail on charges of grand theft, possession of paraphernalia, trespassing in an operational area of an airport, possession of cannabis and leaving the scene of a crash involving damage.
Jail records show Stienstra is being held on $30,500 bond.