Plane stolen from Thunder Bay college lands in Missouri

A pilot is in custody after a single-engine plane was stolen from a Thunder Bay, Ont., college and landed near a Missouri highway, officials say.
Adam Dylan Leon was taken into custody after a plane was stolen from a Thunder Bay, Ont., college and landed near a Missouri highway.
A pilot is in custody after a single-engine plane was stolen from a Thunder Bay, Ont., college and landed near a Missouri highway, officials say.

The Cessna 172, which was being tracked by two U.S. fighter jets, landed on a dirt road in Ellsinore, Mo. The pilot ran away after the plane landed but was apprehended shortly after.

A man named Adam Dylan Leon, 31, was taken into custody, said Sgt. Marty Elmore, a spokesman for the Missouri Highway Patrol.

An FBI spokesman said Leon, formerly known as Yavuz Berke, was born in Turkey and became a Canadian citizen last year, CNN reported.

Two F-16 fighters had been dispatched to track the plane, which was taken at about 2:30 p.m. from the Aviation Centre of Excellence at Thunder Bay's Confederation College.

Fighter pilots intercepted the plane at the Michigan-Wisconsin border, said Mike Kucharek, spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado. He said the plane was flying erratically.

The Cessna 172 was tracked by two U.S. fighter jets before landing on a dirt road in Ellsinore, Mo.
As the plane flew over Madison, Wis., the state capitol building was evacuated shortly after 5 p.m. as a precaution.

Kucharek said the pilot acknowledged seeing the F-16s but refused to communicate with any authorities.

Judi Maundrell, vice-president of Thunder Bay's Confederation College, told radio station CKPR that a person hopped the fence Monday afternoon and took off on an unauthorized flight in the Cessna 172.

Maundrell said the college was trying to determine whether the pilot was a student there.

With files from the Associated Press and the Canadian Press