A Florida pilot on his way home from North Carolina decided to do make a quick flyover of his home on Sunday, and was amazed by what he saw.
Pilot David Zehntner was returning home from North Carolina and as he flew over his Labelle home noticed a silver pickup truck with a camper on it sitting in his driveway. The pilot lowered his altitude and circled back around, only to see a man looking into the windows of his home, according to a Charlotte County Sheriff’s media release.
David Zehntner spoke with Brian Gillie of rootshed.com on Monday, and explained the details of the unusual theft as he and his wife watched from his plane hundreds of feet above their home.
“We flew over my mother’s house at 800 ft. and we live about ¾ of a mile away from her. We circled around to our house and my wife looks out the window and says, ‘There’s somebody in our driveway,’” explained Zehntner.
The skilled pilot said he dropped the altitude of his Cessna 182 Skyline down to about 300 feet and began running a tight ¼ mile circle above his house, all while a stranger went window to window and was peering into the empty home as they watched from above.
Zehntner says he then watched as the man lifted up the trailer, hooked up the lights and attached it to his pickup truck, turning off onto the main road.
The pilot said he flew his Cessna at about 500 feet and followed the thief into the town of Labelle, losing him at one point. Zehntner said he ironically caught back up with the thief in front of the Hendry County Courthouse.
Using a special cell phone in his plane, Zehntner called police who met up with him at the local airport a short time later.
“Approximately about 30 minutes after we landed we received a call from a helicopter pilot from the FHP or the Lee County Sheriff, asking for a description of our trailer,” explained Zehntner.
He further explained that while filing the police report, he received another call from a Charlotte County sheriff’s deputy asking him to describe the stolen trailer.
What he didn’t know at that time was that the search was a collaborative effort of deputies from four Florida counties: Glades, Hendry, Charlotte and Lee.
According to a CCSO media release, deputies caught up with the 2002 Toyota Tundra and the stolen red trailer on I-75 near mile marker 153. The driver of the vehicle was identified as 59-year-old Gary Robert Haines of Stafford, Virginia. He was arrested and charged with Grand Theft. The media release states that deputies discovered a loaded rifle and bullets on the floorboard of Haines pickup truck.
“For the people who say there is never a cop around when you need one, I have to say there were plenty of them around for us,” explained Zehntner during his interview with rootshed.com. “We’d like to express our appreciation for the quick action and ease of handling in this situation. They [police] handled it very well and very fast.”
Relieved to get his trailer back, Zehntner says he and his wife are still in awe of the entire ordeal.
“The irony of the whole thing is the fact that a man stands and looks at him in a very close proximity while he is in an airplane , circling him in broad daylight as he proceeds to steal his trailer while we were watching him,” explained Zehntner.
If you are really interested in keeping up to date on the best in strange news, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and Guinness World Records, click the nifty subscribe button on the top of the story to receive email updates hot off the press. You may also find me on Twitter @oddnewsbybrian and on Facebook at Weird and Odd News.