Man arrested for stealing airplane from North Las Vegas airport, flying to California

A man has been arrested after Nevada authorities said he stole an airplane from the North Las Vegas airport and flew it to the Barstow, California, area. 

North Las Vegas Police said the incident happened on December 30 and involved a 2020 Kitfox fixed wing single-engine type aircraft.

They said the suspect was identified as 40-year-old Damian Zukaitis and was taken into custody. 

Authorities said the details behind the theft remain under investigation.  

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They believe Zukaitis flew the plane to an area near the Barstow-Daggett Airport, where he landed on a roadway. 


(File photo/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office (SBCSO) then made contact with him not knowing the plane was stolen at that point.

When deputies arrived to help, Zukaitis then fled on foot into a desert area before being arrested, according to the sheriff's office. 

Zukaitis is facing charges of possession of a stolen airplane and transporting stolen property across state lines. Additional charges are pending. 


Authorities said a man stole a 2020 Kitfox fixed wing single-engine type aircraft and flew it to California. (Credit: KVVU)

Authorities said days before the incident, there were reports that airplanes had been attempted to be broken into at the NLV airport. They believe Zukaitis was behind the attempts.  

Investigators said the motive is still unclear but the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration are investigating.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.