Man charged after threat to crash stolen plane into Mississippi Walmart

3 September 2022, 15:50 | Updated: 3 September 2022, 22:28

A pilot is threatening to crash a stolen plane into a Walmart in Tupelo, police say.
A pilot is threatening to crash a stolen plane into a Walmart in Tupelo, police say. Picture: Facebook @LTown LTown /Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

A US man who stole a small plane and threatened to fly it into a Walmart shop has been charged with grand larceny and making terroristic threats.

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The suspect - named by police as Cory Wayne Patterson - was arrested after landing in a field, having circled near Tupelo, Mississippi, for hours.

State Governor Tate Reeves tweeted that no one had been injured, offering his thanks to law enforcement in Tupelo.

Tupelo Police Chief John Quaka said the suspect, Cory Wayne Patterson, had been responsible for fuelling aircraft.

While Patterson appeared to have had some flight instruction, he was not a licensed pilot, Quaka said at a news conference.

Patterson was in custody and was being charged with grand larceny and making terrorist threats, Quaka said, adding that he expected federal charges as well.

No one was injured in the incident.

The Walmart store and a nearby convenience store in Tupelo were evacuated as a precaution on Saturday morning, while citizens were asked to avoid the area.

The pilot of the small plane began circling over Tupelo, Mississippi, at about 5am local time (11am BST).

He is said to have threatened to crash the aircraft into a local Walmart store.

Mississippi governor Tate Reeves wrote on Twitter: "The plane over North MS is down. Thankful the situation has been resolved and that no one was injured. Thank you most of all to local, state, and federal law enforcement who managed this situation with extreme professionalism."

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Citizens had been asked to avoid the area.

Leslie Criss, a local journalist, told The Associated Press news agency she had never seen anything like it in the city, and that it was a "scary way to wake up on a Saturday morning".

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