St. Louis Public Radio News
7:28 am
Tue April 7, 2009

Pilot faces federal charges over stolen plane

St. Louis, MO – Federal prosecutors have charged a 31-year-old Canadian man who stole a plane from an Ontario flight school where he was a student.

Adam Dylan Leon is charged with with unlawful transport of a stolen aircraft and entering the U.S. illegally. He flew the plane for seven hours - most of them under the watchful eye of fighter jets - before landing in southeast Missouri.

Leon, also known as Yavuz Berke, is a native of Turkey who is now a naturalized Canadian citizen. An FBI investigation turned up no evidence of connections to terrorism.

Leon told the officer who arrested him near Ellsinore, Missouri that he could not work up the courage to commit suicide and was hoping to be shot down instead.

He faces a maximum of ten and a half years in prison if convicted of the two charges.