Thursday, August 6, 2009
Airplane thief suspect caught
Suspected airplane thief misses court date,
identified by feds on return from Mexico trip
Monitor Staff Reports
ATHENS–In less than two weeks, officials recaptured a man wanted for the theft of an airplane from the Athens Municipal Airport back in March, and on subsequent federal charges for fleeing from a Texas-Mexico border agent.
Law enforcement caught up with Calhoun in Wood County Sunday, after narrowly missing him in Eustace Saturday night.
When Joshua Paul Calhoun, 28, of Brownsboro, failed to appear in the 173rd District Court July 23, District Attorney Scott McKee sought an arrest warrant on him.
Later that day, Calhoun tried to reenter the United States from Mexico over the international bridge in Roma, according to a criminal complaint filed in the Untied States District Court.
When federal authorities attempted to detain him, Calhoun took off in a 1993 Ford F-250 truck, injuring a federal agent in the process.
Authorities suspected he would be making his way back to Henderson County.
Capt. Kay Langford with the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office said a “sting” had been set up to catch Calhoun, who was driving east on U.S. Highway 175 in a ’97 black and silver Dodge pickup, headed toward Athens, when an officer shot out two of his tires Saturday.
Calhoun than abandoned the car and took off on foot.
The vehicle was later found on Porter’s Bluff, Langford said.
Sunday, Calhoun had taken another vehicle, this time a new truck with GPS, which enabled authorities to establish his location and make the arrest without further incident.
March 4, Calhoun was arrested for allegedly stealing and crashing an airplane from the Athens Municipal Airport.
Calhoun returned to the airport to pick up his truck, and a witness pointed him out to police while giving his statement.
According to an Athens Police Department report, Calhoun claimed that he purchased the plane over the Internet with $52,000 he had earned while working in the oil fields.
He said he then flew the plane to family property near Echo Lake in Brownsboro, and gave the keys to a friend to fly back to the airport. It was the friend who crashed the plane, he claimed. Police found the man Calhoun claimed crashed the plane died in October, 2008.
Shortly after the activation of a warrant for his failure to appear in court over the incident, border security asked Calhoun about the purpose of his visit into Mexico July 23.
He told federal agents he was a doctor who was scouting locations for a new medical office there, according to the federal criminal complaint.
Calhoun’s outstanding warrant turned up on a computer check. When bridge security asked him to step outside of his truck, Calhoun took off instead.
A female agent, who had reached into the driver’s side window to remove the keys, sustained bruises, a scratched right elbow and back injuries before the truck managed to shake her loose.
Calhoun now faces federal charges for his high-speed flight from the immigration checkpoint, in addition to the state theft charge and failure to appear; also, evading arrest with a motor vehicle and on foot; and theft of property ($100,000 to $200,000) from Wood County.
Bonds total $46,500.
However, he is also being held without bond on the federal warrant.
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