Aircraft owners are still totaling up damages after a weekend of thefts and vandalism at the Placerville Airport.
Sgt. Tasha Thompson, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said the department received two reports of break-ins and thefts at the county-owned airport.
The first was received about 10 a.m. Saturday from an aircraft owner reporting that someone broke into a hangar. Two vehicles that had been inside the hangar were stolen and one of them was later recovered, Thompson said. Other property inside the hangar was damaged, she said.
About 8:30 a.m. Monday, the Sheriff’s Office received a report that 10 airplanes had been vandalized. Thompson said windows had been smashed and there were pry marks on some of the aircraft.
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Matt Warden, an airport technician, said Monday in a telephone interview that problems, including theft of fuel and vandalism, started about two months ago and have gotten progressively worse, with the greatest damage occurring this past weekend.
About 100 private airplanes are based at the airport, east of Placerville, he said. Approximately half are in hangars and the other half are tied down outside. Despite the damage to planes, little in the way of equipment has been reported stolen, he said.
“I think they’re just looking to see what they can find,” he said of the vandals.
Aircraft owners must have an access code or device to enter the airport, but intruders have cut through fencing to enter the grounds, Warden said.
Thompson said the the airport did not have surveillance video, which could assist in an investigation.
She said the Sheriff’s Office did not know the cost damages incurred over the weekend because aircraft owners were still getting estimates for repairs.
Sheriff’s deputies patrol the airport area when they have time between calls. “But the county is so large, we can’t be everywhere,” she said.
Thompson said the Sheriff’s Office typically advises installing security cameras or hiring private security officers in such situations.