Man allegedly steals plane, flies to Chowchilla

MERCED, Calif.

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Officials say Lonnie Blackburn was flying a Cessna 172 erratically and about 100-feet from the radio tower at Chowchilla airport. They caught up to the plane after it landed and say they found Blackburn trying to cover up the plane's identification number with white paint.

Investigators discovered the plane was stolen from Paradise, California. They also found a trace of marijuana in the plane but are unsure if Blackburn was under the influence.

Blackburn is a licensed pilot. Chowchilla Police have informed the FAA about the incident.

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