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Federal charges for man who allegedly stole then crashed plane into Mississippi field

Taro Hama/Getty Images

(TUPELO, MS) — A Mississippi man faces federal charges after allegedly stealing a plane and threatening to crash it into a Walmart earlier this month.

Cory Patterson, 29, was arrested by local authorities on Sept. 3 after the small plane landed in a field after circling over Tupelo for several hours. Tupelo police had warned residents early that morning that the plane’s pilot was threatening to intentionally crash into a Walmart.

Patterson, an unlicensed pilot, allegedly stole the small plane from the Tupelo Regional Airport, where he worked as an employee of Tupelo Aviation, police said.

He was charged on Sept. 3 with grand larceny and making terroristic threats by local authorities.

He was additionally charged in federal court on Monday with destruction of aircraft and threats involving the destruction of aircraft.

ABC News did not immediately receive a response from Patterson’s attorney to an email seeking comment on the federal charges.

According to the affidavit, Patterson had previously taken flying lessons and claimed to have watched YouTube videos to figure out how to fly.

He allegedly called 911 on his cellphone and “threatened to crash the airplane” into the Tupelo Walmart, according to an affidavit from an FBI agent.

When the 911 operator asked if it was intentional that he was about to crash the plane, Patterson reportedly responded, “Oh yeah,” the affidavit stated.

“When asked what his motive was, Patterson stated, ‘l just don’t want to live anymore and want to cause chaos while I’m at it,'” the affidavit continued.

Patterson reportedly told the 911 operator “he did not want to hurt anyone else,” according to the affidavit.

Police said that negotiators spoke to Patterson and were able to convince him to land the aircraft at Tupelo Regional Airport.

Patterson received “instruction” over the phone on how to land the plane from a professional pilot, the affidavit stated. Patterson was able to lower the landing gear and made an approach to the airport but aborted the landing, it stated.

He eventually crash-landed the plane — a Beechcraft King Air C-90 twin-engine aircraft — in a soybean field in Ripley, Mississippi, authorities said.

No one was harmed and only the pilot was on board the aircraft, police said.

An instructor pilot who saw the plane after it landed assessed that the aircraft was a “total loss” and would likely be sold for parts, according to the affidavit.

Patterson appeared in Oxford federal court on Wednesday and was remanded to U.S. Marshal custody pending a preliminary and detention hearing or psychiatric evaluation, court records show.

His attorney has filed a motion for a psychological exam, court records show.

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