Ac­cused plane-stealer en­ters guilty plea in fed­eral court

Man faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS -

BU­FORD — The man ac­cused of steal­ing a plane from a Florida air­port and fly­ing it 350 miles to Ge­or­gia has en­tered a guilty plea to a charge of in­ter­state trans­porta­tion of a stolen air­craft, court of­fi­cials said.

Daniel Andrew Wol­cott of Bu­ford en­tered the plea Thurs­day in fed­eral court in Jack­sonville, Fla., a court rep­re­sen­ta­tive said.

A sen­tenc­ing hear­ing is pend­ing. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $ 250,000 fine but his plea agree­ment means Wol­cott likely will re­ceive a re­duced sen­tence, said Gwin­nett County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Danny Porter.

He may re­ceive credit for spend­ing nearly two years in jail in Gwin­nett County and Wol­cott will also have in the next two months a res­o­lu­tion hear­ing to de­ter­mine how much he must pay back, Porter said.

Un­der the plea agree­ment, prose­cu­tors will drop other charges, in­clud­ing a count of theft by re­ceiv­ing and five counts of reck­less con­duct in Gwin­nett County and a grand theft charge by of­fi­cials St. Johns County, Fla., Porter said.

On Oct. 9, 2005, Wol­cott, then 22, stole a Cessna Ci­ta­tion 7 jet worth $ 7 mil­lion from the St. Augustine/ St. Johns County Air­port in Florida.

Wol­cott then flew to Gwin­nett County Air­portBriscoe Field, tak­ing on a spin five friends who were un­aware the plane were stolen. Al­though Wol­cott is a com­mer­cial pilot and is li­censed to fly a com­mer­cial jet, he was not rated to fly the Ci­ta­tion, which typ­i­cally re­quires two pi­lots to fly it.

At the time, Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials said the plane’s transpon­der was turned off or dis­abled so air traf­fic con­trollers couldn’t eas­ily track the plane on radar as it ap­proached the air space of At­lanta, among the world’s busiest.

No flight plan was filed and the pilot did not talk to air traf­fic con­trollers. The plane’s mys­te­ri­ous pres­ence at the sub­ur­ban At­lanta air field sparked ter­ror­ism con­cerns un­til Wol­cott turned him­self in a week af­ter fly­ing the plane.

The 10- pas­sen­ger jet be­longed to Pin­na­cle Air, a char­ter jet com­pany based in Spring­dale, Ark. Com­pany of­fi­cials later flew the plane from the Ge­or­gia air­field.

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