CRYSTAL RIVER — The homeless have had to resort to petty theft in the past to make ends meet, but one Florida homeless man recently took his larceny to a far more ambitious level than simple pilfering of food or drink.
Timothy Winburn, a 35-year-old indigent man based in Citrus County, was arrested Saturday for trying to steal an airplane at Crystal River Airport.
It’s unclear what Winburn’s plan was upon entering the 1996 Piper Archer aircraft. Police say he attempted to start the plane, though it seems doubtful that he has any piloting experience or that a flight would end well.
Winburn’s strategy for navigating his inevitable arrest was no more well-thought-out. When deputies arrived at the airfield and confronted him upon his getaway, Winburn informed them that his name was “John.” When asked for his last name, Winburn simply stated that he didn’t know. (Unsurprisingly, he also had no identification to back up the “John” façade.)
Fortunately for police, Winburn had his real ID on his person at the time, which they swiftly turned up after a brief search.
The plane’s owner confirmed to authorities that he did not know Winburn and did not authorize his presence on the aircraft. While the homeless daredevil may have failed to get airborne, he did succeed in snatching a jacket the owner had left on the plane, which police promptly returned.
The owner reported that—since Winburn’s brief turn as captain of the craft—the right side wind flap no longer worked, and the aircraft’s starter was possibly damaged as well.
Upon arrest, Winburn was charged with counts of grand theft, petty theft, burglary of a conveyance and providing a fake name to law enforcement.
Bond was set at $16,500, well outside the means of most homeless people, so consequently, it would appear that Winburn has found his home after all, albeit in jail.