Charges filed against pilot of stolen plane

Stolen plane sits off Highway FF near Ellsinore, Mo.
Stolen plane sits off Highway FF near Ellsinore, Mo.
Adam Leon | Courtesy: Butler County Jail
Adam Leon | Courtesy: Butler County Jail
Police cars surround the parked airplane Monday night.
Police cars surround the parked airplane Monday night.
Cessna 172 similar to the aircraft stolen.
Cessna 172 similar to the aircraft stolen.
By Heartland News

ELLSINORE, MO (KFVS) - Federal prosecutors have charged a Canadian flight student with piloting a stolen plane into the U.S.

Thirty-one-year-old Adam Dylan Leon was charged Tuesday with transportation of stolen property and illegal entry. According to the federal complaint, Leon said he flew the plane into the U.S. expecting to be shot down by military aircraft. The complaint says Leon told authorities he recently was being treated by a psychiatrist.
A single engine airplane believed to be stolen from Canada landed in Ellsinore, Missouri Monday night.
A student pilot stole the Cessna 172 from a Thunder Bay, Ontario airport.  The man flew in to U.S. air space.
Authorities say the man never communicated with anyone during the flight.
Two F-16 jets were dispatched to intercept and follow the plane.  Pilots of the F-16's said the pilot of the stolen plane acknowledged but did not obey non-verbal orders to follow them.
The plane landed on Highway 60 in the Carter County community.  After landing, witnesses say that the man got out of the plane and went to Simmons gas station and bought a Gatorade.  He then sat in a booth until authorities arrived.
The FBI identifies the man as Adam Leon, 31, formerly known as Yavuz Berke.  He was born in Turkey and later became a Canadian citizen in 2008.
The FBI says Leon has no known association with terrorism.
The state trooper who arrested him has said the suspect had hoped to be shot down because he wanted to commit suicide and didn't have the courage to do it himself.  There are unconfirmed reports that Leon left a suicide note in Canada.
A spokesperson for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says "Yavuz Berke, aka Adam Dylan Leon, is currently in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforecment (ICE) for illegally entering the United States.  He was detained by Missouri Highway Patrol after he illegally flew into the United States from Canada and landed the plane he was flying on a road off Highway 60 near Poplar Bluff, Mo.  He was released to ICE custody abount 7:45 a.m."
According to Cessna's website, the Cessna 172 (Skyhawk) has a maximum range of 610 nautical miles or 702 statute miles.
Thunder Bay, Canada to Ellsinore, Missouri is approximately 790 statute miles.

Leon was jailed in Butler County, then moved to Mississippi County, Mo.  Now, he's been taken to the St. Louis area, held for illegally entering the United States, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.  Federal authorities must determine if Leon should be charged or simply deported.

So far no federal charges have been filed against him.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command tells Heartland News they did not shoot the plane down because the pilot did not appear to pose any specific kind of threat to any structure or population.

Stay with Heartland News and for continuing coverage of this late breaking story.

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Update: 9:42pm - A single engine airplane believed to be stolen from an airport in Canada by a student pilot Monday is reported to have landed in southeastern Missouri after being trailed by two jet fighters from Wisconsin.
Laura Brown of the Federal Aviation Administration said the Cessna 172 landed on a dirt road at Ellsinore, Mo., near Poplar Bluff and the pilot ran away.
She said local law enforcement officers are responding. The pilot hadn't communicated with authorities through the entire flight.
In Wisconsin, the incident caused the Wisconsin Capitol in Madison to be evacuated as a precaution as the plane flew through that section of the state.
Update: 9:36pm --  Heartland News is getting reports that the plane has landed in Ellsinore, MO in Carter county.  We're also getting reports that the pilot of that plane jumped out and took off running.
Heartland News has a crew headed to Ellsinore and we'll update you as soon as we get more information.
WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) - A single-engine airplane flown away from an airport in Canada by a student pilot is flying over southeastern Missouri.
The pilot hadn't communicated with authorities, and it wasn't known if he might be incapacitated.
F-16 fighters have been dispatched to track the plane. As of about 8:15 p.m., it was north of Poplar Bluff.
Mike Kucharek of the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado says the pilot has been flying erratically and has not communicated with the fighter pilots, who intercepted the plane at the Michigan-Wisconsin border.
The plane is being tracked as a "fight safety issue" and the plane is not believed to be a terrorist threat.
The plane came from the Confederation College Flight School at Thunder Bay International Airport in Ontario.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)