Thursday, February 22, 2024

Tampa man drives stolen vehicle on runway at St. Pete-Clearwater Airport entering USCG airplane cockpit

Deputies assigned to the Airport Unit have arrested a Tampa man after crashing through a fence at the St. Pete/Clearwater airport and boarding a US Coast Guard C-130.

According to investigators, on Saturday, July 17, 2021 at approximately 4:48 a.m., airport deputies were notified of a suspicious vehicle driving on the runway near parked commercial airliners. Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle which fled across the runway towards the US Coast Guard station.

Deputies engaged the vehicle in a pursuit which ended after the vehicle crashed through a USCG security gate. The suspect, 36-year-old Hamilton Moreno, stopped the vehicle in a large hangar and fled on foot. Moreno entered a parked C-130 aircraft and entered the cockpit when he was taken into custody by deputies.

Through the investigation, it was determined Moreno drove through fencing surrounding the property before driving to the runway. The vehicle was reported stolen from Tampa earlier in the evening.

Hamilton has transported to the Pinellas County Jail where he is held on charges of Fleeing and Eluding, Trespassing, Grand Theft Auto, Habitual Traffic Offender, Burglary, and two counts of Criminal Mischief.

No deputies or citizens were injured and no aircraft sustained any damage.

The investigation continues and federal charges are pending.

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