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Pilot Spots Thief At His House ... From The Air

Target Of The Robbery Was A Trailer At The Pilot's Home

A Florida pilot returning from a trip to North Carolina over the holidays decided that he wanted to get a look at his house from the air ... and that serendipitous overflight led to the arrest of a man who had stolen a trailer from the pilot's home in Glades County, FL.

According to a news release from the Charlotte County (FL) Sheriff's office, Gary Robert Haines, 59, Stafford, VA, was arrested Sunday afternoon for stealing a 6x12 foot trailer from a Glades County home near Labelle. The owner was flying his airplane over his home at the time, saw the theft from the air and called Glades County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) 9-1-1.

Pilot David Zehntner was returning home from North Carolina in his personal airplane and decided to fly over his home in the 2400 block of Loblolly Bay Road, Labelle. He observed a silver truck with a white camper in his driveway and lowered his altitude to get a closer look. He saw a man looking into the windows of his home who then attached the pilot's red trailer to the truck and pull out of his driveway. The pilot followed the thief down S.R. 80 towards I-75 in Lee County and called GCSO who in turn contacted the Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LSCO).

LCSO Aviation located the truck and trailer on I-75 heading into Charlotte County and gave directions to LCSO ground units. LCSO made a traffic stop on I-75 at mile marker 153 in Charlotte County. LCSO deputies detained the man driving a 2002 Toyota Tundra 4x4 pickup and pulling the red stolen trailer until CCSO deputies arrived and made the arrest of Haines. The owner went to the scene and reclaimed his trailer. Haines’ pickup was impounded at the CCSO Crime Scene bay and obtained a search warrant. Inside the pickup detectives found a loaded rifle and bullets on the floorboard. Haines was arrested for Grand Theft and taken to the Charlotte County Jail. He was released Monday morning on $2,500 bond. CCSO seized the pickup for forfeiture. Glades County Sheriff’s Office detectives are still investigating the theft and weapons found in the Haines pickup.

(Gary Haines arrest photo provided by Charlotte County, FL, Sheriff's office)

FMI: www.ccso.org

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