Suspect crashes stolen helicopter shortly after takeoff at Sacramento airport

A person who attempted to steal a helicopter Wednesday morning from Sacramento Executive Airport crashed on the tarmac shortly after the plane started, authorities said.

It’s unclear how far the suspect was able to get the helicopter off the tarmac before it crashed, but footage taken by KCRA-TV in Sacramento showed a black helicopter lying on its side. Pieces of the helicopter were strewn on the ground, including the rotor blades, and ground crews used a crane to place the plane on its landing gear, authorities told the news channel .

The Sacramento Police Department told KCRA the suspect damaged four other helicopters before starting the crashed plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the helicopter is a Bell 429 and crashed around 5 a.m.

The suspect is still at large, authorities said.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation took the lead on the incident and could not be reached for comment on the crash. FBI Special Agent Sean Reagan told KCRA there was a person of interest, but he would not reveal any information about an arrest or a motive.

“If someone wanted to get on a plane for a ride, someone who wanted to get on a plane to do some other criminal activity or damage other property, terrorism would be at the other end of the field,” Reagan said.

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