Massachusetts State Police said at 6:24 p.m. on Thursday, a 31-year-old Leominster man gained access to the airfield area and a fuel truck. The man allegedly drove the fuel truck around the area where aircrafts taxi.
Troopers entered the fuselage shell and spoke to the man, who had a black material smeared on his face and was speaking incoherently, Dave Procopio, a state police spokesman, said in a statement. Troopers later found a spilled bucket of tar, which they believe to be the substance the man put on his face.
State police troopers located the man sitting inside the shell of a fuselage, which is typically used by firefighters for training exercises at the airport.
Troopers believed the man was suffering from a mental illness and requested that he be evaluated by medical responders. Emergency technicians from UMass Medical Center examined the man and determined he was not a threat to himself or others, state police said.
The man, who has not been publicly identified because of health issues and medical privacy concerns, also allegedly vandalized a pickup truck that was located next to his own parked car. Troopers found a metal detector that had been removed from the pickup truck nearby.
State police transported the man to barracks in Brookfield, where he was charged with trespassing, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, breaking and entering, and malicious destruction of property. He was held on $1,000 cash bail.
His parents were contacted by state police, who explained the EMTs suggestion that the man undergo a mental health examination.
MassPort confirmed a brief incident took place at the Worcester airport Thursday night, and said there were no operational impacts.
A previous version of this article said the suspect was from Lawrence. He is from Leominster. This article has been updated to reflect the most accurate information from Massachusetts State Police.
WORCESTER (CBS) – There was a security breach at Worcester Airport on Wednesday. Massachusetts State Police say a Leominster man got on to the airfield, stole a fuel truck and drove it around an area where planes taxi.
Sources say the suspect tried to get in through a locked gate, then jumped the fence, which is covered with barbed wire around the entire airfield. Troopers found him stapped inside the cockpit of an empty plane used by firefighters for training exercises. They said he had black tar smeared on his face and was speaking incoherently.
Before he scaled the fence, he allegedly threw a flashlight through the window of an airport employee’s pick-up truck and smeared the windows with tar.
“It’s just terrifying,” flyer Miriam Phillips said. “My family, my kids, commute from New York and we use this airport very, very often.”
The 31-year-old is charged with trespassing, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, breaking and entering and malicious destruction of property. He was arraigned in court Thursday and released on personal recognizance.
State Police do not believe he posed a threat of terrorism and are advising that he receive a mental health evaluation. They are not releasing his name.
Immediately after the incident on Wednesday evening, the State Police did a comprehensive sweep of the impacted airport area, as well as the wider security perimeter to ensure there were no other potential threats. The incident ended quickly after a tenant employee appropriately notified law enforcement.
Massport and the State Police have reviewed all security procedures and protocols at the airport. Security measures at Massport facilities are multi-layered and consistent with TSA regulations, and appropriately coordinated with other federal, state and local law enforcement partners.