Homeless man sneaks onto private jet, causes $5K in damage

A homeless man claimed to be the owner of a Los Angeles-area airport Thursday while walking in through a vehicle entrance, and then caused $5,000 worth of damage to a private jet.

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The man, identified by the Los Angeles Daily News as 25-year-old Chris Tolbert, was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and vandalism.

Tolbert is accused of walking in to the Van Nuys Airport around 4:25 p.m. through a security gate at a Western Jet maintenance facility, according to Los Angeles Airport police. A vehicle was headed into the facility when Tolbert allegedly made his entrance.

"He walked behind the vehicle, and of course the (driver) sees him and says, 'Hey stop. Are you supposed to be here?'" police spokesman Officer Rob Pedregon told the Daily News. "The guy said, 'Yeah, I'm supposed to be here.' He said he owned the airport."

Concerned, the driver called authorities.

When police arrived, they found Tolbert smoking a cigarette in a Gulfstream G4 jet parked in a hangar for maintenance.

He was smoking a cigarette, which he put out in a bandanna when he was confronted, MyNewsLA.com reported. The bandanna smoldered, causing an estimated $5,000 in damage.

Airport police arrested the man, who was booked at the Los Angeles Police Department's Van Nuys Station.

Police arrested Tolbert, who is being held on a $20,000 bond, according to Los Angeles County Jail records.

The airport has seen several other intrusions in recent months, including an incident in which taggers spray painted three jets.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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