Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Arkansas Man Tries to Steal Plane to Fly to Rap Concert

When most teenagers need a ride to a concert, they call Uber, or maybe take public transportation. But not this 19-year-old from Texarkana! He tried to steal a commercial jet so he could fly to Chicago for a rap concert. In the end, he missed the show, pleaded guilty to attempted theft of property and commercial burglary, and was sentenced to five years of probation.

Kids Do the Darndest Things!

Zemarcuis Scott hopped aboard an empty American Eagle jet at the Texarkana Regional Airport, hoping to fly to Chicago. Hope is not always the best strategy, but that might have been all he had. Turns out, Scott has no training as a pilot, and told investigator he thought he could wing it by pushing buttons and pulling levers. Perhaps he's seen that method on YouTube?

To answer the two questions that might be going through your head, there's been no mention of drugs in his system, and he was found competent to stand trial. Good thing he didn't make it off the tarmac!

Scott Wasn't the First, Probably Won't Be the Last

As crazy as this case sounds, it isn't the first time an Average Joe has tried to steal a plane. But thankfully, Scott's story had a different ending. In August 2018, Richard Russell, a Horizon Air employee who handles baggage and de-icing plans for the airlines, decided to take a 76-seat passenger Q400 turbo prop plane for a spin.

Unlike Scott, Russell was able to get lift-off and was flying around for nearly an hour. When air traffic controllers asked him if he knew what he was doing, he responded, "I played video games before, so, you know, I know what I'm doing a little bit." Evidently the emphasis was on "little." Soon thereafter, he crashed the plane into an island around 30 miles from Sea-Tac Airport, and died.

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