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FBI, Calif. Police Investigate Bizarre Helicopter Heist Gone Awry

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March 16, 2023 Sacramento police and federal investigators are searching for a suspect who broke into Sacramento Executive Airport and tried to take off with a helicopter before crashing the aircraft.

By Rosalio Ahumada Source The Sacramento Bee Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The FBI has joined the investigation into the crash of a helicopter Wednesday morning during an apparent theft of the aircraft at Sacramento Executive Airport.

The break-in occurred around 5 a.m. at the general aviation airport in the 6100 block of Freeport Boulevard, according to officials with the Federal Aviation Administration, which is also investigating along with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Sacramento Police Department.

Officers who were called to the tarmac after 6 a.m. said someone broke into multiple helicopters on the tarmac before the Bell 429 helicopter was operated, resulting in the crash.

Authorities found the helicopter on its side with major damage including the shearing of the aircraft’s rotor blades. Destruction of an aircraft is a federal felony, according to the FBI.

Local investigators on Wednesday did not have any information that indicated someone was injured in the crash. Police said officers did not have anyone in custody in connection with the heist. The FBI’s Sacramento field office has joined the investigation, working with police, and said that the aircraft that crash “caused damage to multiple aircraft.”

“This investigation is in its early stages,” police told The Sacramento Bee, “and this information is preliminary as detectives work to learn exactly what occurred.”

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call the FBI Sacramento Field Office at 916-746-7000 or send a tip to

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