Police: Florida man tried to steal planes from Davis Island airport

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A Panama City Beach man was arrested on Saturday night for allegedly trying to steal two planes from the Peter O. Knight Airport on Davis Island.

Drew Bronnenberg, 28, told Tampa Police he was in the city for Gasparilla prior to the incident.

"He had some sort of a falling out with his girlfriend and just start walking,” said Steve Hegarty, spokesperson for the Tampa Police Department.

Bronnenberg is believed to have walked several miles from the Gasparilla festivities to the airport. His clothes came off along the way, according to a police report. 

Bronnenberg was only wearing a pair of blue shorts when he allegedly hopped the fence airport fence, according to police.

Police said he managed to pull a single-engine plane out of a hanger, but could not get it started.

Bronnenberg allegedly sprayed one of the planes with a fire extinguisher.

He then got into and tried to start another plane in a separate hanger unsuccessfully.

Bronnenberg does not have a pilot’s license, according to records with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Bronnenberg later found a golf cart to drive around. He then switched vehicles and drove an airport fuel truck around the property before crashing it into a building.

"He could have done plenty of damage with that. He could have taken out several planes, he could have taken out structures down here,” said south Tampa resident Richard Fitzsimons.

After getting arrested, Bronnenberg told police he didn’t remember anything.

The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, who owns the property, issued a statement to FOX 13 saying:

“Safety and security are top priorities for all of our airports. We have a robust program at Peter O. Knight that includes daily inspections of security fencing and access points. We also make regular upgrades to our security system.  

The company that manages the airport for us has a contractual obligation to secure their property and that of the airport tenants, which includes the airplanes and fuel truck. We are reviewing those obligations with them.”

Airport officials added that there is currently a bill in the Florida legislature that would make trespassing on airport property a felony.

Bronnenberg was booked into the Hillsborough County jail on 11 charges, including burglary, grand theft, and criminal mischief. He was released on bond on Sunday.

Bronnenberg works as a lifeguard in Panama City Beach, according to his arrest report.