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Crime & Courts

Fairbanks man steals airport vehicle, goes for joyride on runways, police say

FAIRBANKS — A Fairbanks man is facing charges that he stole an airport vehicle and drove it down Fairbanks International Airport taxiways and runways minutes before and after planes had been scheduled to use them.

Thirty-five-year-old Joshua Everett Roach, of Fairbanks, is charged with vehicle theft, criminal trespass, reckless endangerment and giving false information to police in connection with the Sunday incident, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

According to a criminal complaint, police had responded to a report from air traffic control personnel that an unauthorized vehicle was driving on a taxiway.

The Suburban had been assigned to an airport maintenance employee, who told police he had left it parked near the security fence with the keys still inside.

Police say surveillance video showed Roach driving in the airport operations area at 7:22 p.m. He was seen driving on "multiple controlled surfaces and landing surfaces," including two taxiways and a runway, according to the complaint.

The Suburban had turned off a runway "at a high rate of speed" onto a taxiway at 7:46 p.m., five minutes after Horizon Flight 182 was cleared to taxi on and take off from the same roadways, the complaint states.

Roach can then be seen heading down another taxiway at 8:32 p.m., just one minute before another Horizon flight was approved to use the surface.

Police also say Roach had given them a false name, but later identified himself after being fingerprinted at Fairbanks Correctional Center.

Online court records do not list an attorney for Roach, and it is unclear if he has one.

Fairbanks International Airport spokeswoman Angie Spear said in a statement Wednesday that the airport is working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Security Administration to investigate the incident.

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