$2.3M Learjet spray-painted by taggers at airport

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Van Nuys Airport

Van Nuys Airport (Image credit: Van Nuys Airport)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Authorities are investigating how vandals could have slipped past security to spray-paint a $2.3 million Learjet at Van Nuys Airport.

The Los Angeles Times reports police believe the crime to be gang-related.

The Learjet was parked in a secure area and vandals went to great lengths to get past security and access the airfield, according Patrick Gannon, airport police chief.

“This is a big deal to me, to have somebody who could get onto the airfield and who could do that kind of damage, that kind of extensive graffiti to an aircraft, and not be seen,” Gannon told the Times. “I’m not happy about it.”

The plane was spray-painted with the word “flame” and several tags.

Marshall McClain, a union spokesman for security officers at local airports, said the incident should serve as a wake-up call.

“It is very disconcerting that airport management has yet to fully address issues like attrition and staffing,” McClain told the newspaper. “It’s something that we have brought to their attention repeatedly over the last several years.”

Gannon confirmed there has been some attrition but says airport managers are willing to hire qualified officers.

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