John Wayne Airport. Photo from the airport’s Twitter page and courtesy of the airport

A felon from San Diego has pleaded guilty and received two years in prison for stealing a vehicle at John Wayne Airport last month, stalling operations for hours.

Johnny Howard Hecker, 51, entered his plea to charges of theft with a prior felony conviction, and vandalism, both felonies. He also was charged with a misdemeanor count of trespass at an airport security inspection.

An employee at the Orange County airport saw a man in a restricted area of the airport at about 5:30 p.m. Aug. 20, according to sheriff’s officials.

Hecker took an airport vehicle and drove it onto the airfield outside Terminal C. He then stopped near a gate and attempted to drive into a secure area, officials said.

His actions triggered a lockdown and passenger evacuation by 6 p.m., leaving flights held up on runaways for hours. Hecker was later found in a ceiling on the non-secure side of the terminal and arrested.

City News Service

Show comments