The Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (IDAC) and state security bodies are investigating the theft of a private plane from La Isabela International Airport in northern Santo Domingo. The plane, a Beechcraft King Air 200 US registration N871, took off on Sunday, at 3:12am and was spotted on the Las Americas airport radar, reportedly heading in direction to South America.
The Specialized Airport Security Corps (CESA) said that it was the property of a priest who lives in Arizona. The pastor was keeping the airplane at one of the Grupo Puntacana hangars at the airport. The authorities did not inform the media if the owner of the airplane was in the Dominican Republic.
News reports say the thieves had time to prepare an alternative disused runway and steal 150 gallons of fuel in eight containers from another hangar. They also managed to tow the plane for 75 meters and doctored the airport closed circuit video camera system, unnoticed by military security.
19 employees of CESA that were working at the airport on Sunday morning are under investigation and now U.S. transportation security (TSA) personnel are heading to the Dominican to help with the investigation. The country is fearful that the U.S. might sanction flights from the DR and flights coming from this key airport that is some 800 miles from the U.S.