Rome – A court in the French town of Aix-en-Provence has sentenced a Slovenian citizen to three years and six months in prison for stealing a Cessna aircraft from an airfield in the Italian resort of Novi Ligure in March and flying it to France, the Italian media have reported.
In the morning of 30 March, the 33-year-old Slovenian stole a Cessna 172 from the E.Mossi airfield in Novi Ligure, north of Genoa in north-western Italy, and flew it across the coastal region of Liguria and the French Riviera.
He was forced to land by the French fighter jets in the town of Aix-Les Milles near Toulon in the south of France, the Italian press agency Ansa reported on Saturday.
The state prosecutor’s office in Aix-en-Provence will reportedly decide on Tuesday on handing over the four-seat single-engine Cessna back to Italy.
The judicial authorities in Alessandria, Italy, have meanwhile initiated proceedings against the Slovenian over burglary, as the man smashed a window of the hangar in order to steal the aircraft.
Why he stole the Cessna and where he actually wanted to fly it remains an unknown, reported the Austrian press agency apa.
The aircraft was stolen from the local flying school. “We hope that the matter will be resolved quickly,” said Paolo Visentini, one of the owners of the school.
He was also reported by Ansa as saying that he could not recognise the Slovenian on photographs of the visitors of the airfield and attendees of the flying school.