Equipment Loss Totals More than $100,000 at Aurora Airport

By Grant Sloan |

Published 07/18 2014 05:38PM

Updated 07/18 2014 07:15PM

AURORA, Mo. -- In what's being called an unprecedented airport theft, more than $100,000 worth of equipment was taken from the Aurora Airport, last week.

Insurance adjusters are still assessing the losses, that happened overnight last Wednesday.

Inside just one plane, the equipment taken, is expected total more than $18,000.

"You can still fly without it but it certainly doesn't make it near as safe," says Aurora Airport Operator Justin Richmond.

Equipment like GPS systems, radios, and transponders were among the items taken from 13 planes, although more than 20 were broken into. Richmond says that's because the thieves knew exactly what they were after.

"They even left a lot of electronics in the plane that weren't as valuable as the stuff they took," says Richmond. "So they were knowledgeable."

"Hopefully it's a record we don't set," says Richmond referring to the $100,000 losses. "It's probably, at least in the Midwest, the largest single theft of avionics."

"It’s very unprecedented, as far as to that magnitude " says Tom Zecha, Aviator Security Manger for the "Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association."

"These avionics were not ripped out of the aircraft, they were uninstalled," says Zecha.

The security expert says one possible theory is that the group of thieves may travel the county targeting airports.

"Obviously well planned," says Zecha. "Aircraft thefts are not a real big problem, as in with frequency, we usually see it with one aircraft here or there."

Two people were arrested recently, accused of a theft at the Boliver Airport back in May. Police say items like money, an air compressor, and a nail gun were stolen.

"My guess is they are not connected, just from the limited information I know, about the Bolivar incident," says Aurora Airport Manger, Justin Richmond.

Richmond was a victim of the theft at the Aurora Airport.

Richmond says he'll leave the theories to the experts, but he believes there is clearly a market for this type of equipment.

"It could go overseas, like South America," says Richmond. "They use carriers and the same radios we use, the same frequencies, it could go anywhere."

Richmond says the airport didn't have security cameras or a fence, and while he says that might not have stopped the theft, it might have kept the thieves from targeting the Aurora Airport.

Richmond says the city is already talking about adding items like cameras, and a gate at the front entrance to the airport.

Aurora Police says so far, it has no leads in the case.

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