While I don’t understand the need to commit a crime, I do try to understand at least some of the motivations behind those crimes. I get needing money, after all. Who doesn’t? I also get someone trying to commit a carjacking, though I can never condone it. But what about trying to steal a helicopter?
See, with stealing a car, at least you can recognize that thief probably knows how to operate a car. He’s stealing something he knows how to use.
But a helicopter? I mean, even pilots will sometimes joke that the only things that keep them aloft are luck and black magic. Why would anyone try to steal something they likely didn’t even know how to operate? Yet that’s precisely what happened recently in Idaho.
Maybe he needed a lift home. Sheriff’s Deputies in Shoshone County arrested an armed man as he was alleged to be attempting to steal a helicopter. The airport in Smelterville, near Kellogg, is being used as a staging area for firefighters battling wildfires throughout the northern panhandle.
Wildfire Today has a story about the encounter between the crack firefighting team and the gunman. He apparently fired shots and later surrendered to deputies and a trooper who arrived at the scene.
The bizarre turn of events took place late in the afternoon last Saturday. The alleged hijacker appears to be from Oregon. It’s not known if he can fly a chopper or if he’s possibly suffering from a mental illness. The Sheriff’s Office hasn’t released many details. The man may have fired several shots but was eventually talked into surrendering. He likely would’ve been taken to the county jail in Wallace and then awaited arraignment in county court, however. If some of the firefighting equipment is under the ownership of the federal government, he could face several more serious charges on that level.
Of course, there are some who think anything they can take, they should take. They also think that they learned enough about flying a helicopter from movies and video games, so why not?
Flying one of those beasts is a lot harder than it looks, though. I know the pedals on the floor may remind you of a car, but those are not the brake and the gas. Just a tip there.
Now, the suspect is likely going to spend a lot of time behind bars. This single incident will likely amount to a number of charges, especially if it is a federally-owned aircraft.
While we don’t know anything about the suspect, I can’t help but feel like this is a case of someone with mental health issues finally cracking enough that they’re acting out when they normally wouldn’t. As a result, you have a situation like this.
The good news is that no one was hurt, including the aircraft. Since the helicopter is used for fighting wildfires, that does actually matter. More importantly, though, were that none of the people were hurt.
Once we know more information about the suspect, we may finally get an idea of what his motivation might have been. I mean, I can get wanting out of Oregon, but there are easier ways to do it.