Man who stole airplane gets 4-year sentence

LaPORTE, IN (AP) - A man who stole a twin-engine airplane and drove it down a taxiway to impress his girlfriend has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Thirty-nine-year-old Michael Santos pleaded guilty to theft and criminal mischief. He was sentenced yesterday in LaPorte Circuit Court.

He might have avoided prison had it not been for extensive damage to the plane and his more than a dozen prior convictions.

Police say that Santos was drunk last September when he tried to impress a girlfriend by climbing into a twin-engine plane outside LaPorte Municipal Airport. He drove a half-mile down the taxiway, missed a curve leading to the runway and steered into a soybean field.

The plane sustained about $160,000 in damage.

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