Thief breaks into four helicopters at Sacramento airport before crashing $7.5m chopper and fleeing scene

A thief stole and crashed a $7.5m helicopter during an attempted heist at a California airport, according to authorities.

The FBI has launched an investigation after the thief broke into four helicopters at Sacramento Executive Airport before finally getting one off the ground.

The suspect fled the scene and no one was injured in the incident, say police.

(KCRA3)

FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean Reagan said that evidence collected, witness information and surveillance video have given investigators a person of interest in the case.

Federal agents are working on why the suspect would have wanted to steal a helicopter.

“If someone wanted to take an aircraft for a joyride, someone who wanted to take an aircraft to do some other criminal activity or damage to other property, terrorism would be at the other end of the scope,” Mr Reagan said.

The stolen Bell 429 heavy-lift helicopter has multiple uses, including firefighting, and was owned by Capitol Helicopters, reported KCRA 3.

“Sometime early this morning several helicopters operated by our company were vandalized by an individual unknown to us, and one aircraft was severely damaged,” said Capitol Helicopters in a statement.

“All our employees are safe, and we do not believe that anyone was injured in today’s events. This incident is currently under investigation by several state and federal authorities.

“We are hopeful that the people responsible are located quickly. We have no further information to report at this time. We appreciate the support from all the agencies and individuals involved.”

The incident is also being probed by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.