Minnesota 18-year-old strikes plea deal after airplane joyriding


A brash Thief River Falls, Minnesota, teen has reached a plea deal with prosecutors who say he stole a single-engine plane for joyriding jaunts during the summer and fall, the Associated Press reports.

Geoffrey Biteman, 18, on Monday was in Roseau District County Court, agreeing to plead guilty and receive a punishment of 60 days in jail, 60 days of home monitoring, up to five months probation, more than $1,000 in fines, plus any restitution and a 13-month stayed prison sentence, the AP notes.

The 42-year-old Cessna 150 belongs to an Air Force major who is deployed in Afghanistan, Grand Forks Herald reports.

The newspaper reports that the overly precocious, unlicensed pilot has garnered some grudging admiration for his moxie and for learning to fly on his own.

The Herald reports that Biteman had contacted the plane's owner, posing as a potential buyer – and as an experienced 30-year-old pilot. The owner had given him permission to give it a test flight. But Biteman continued taking the plane on a number of trips out of the Roseau airport, to destinations around around northwestern Minnesota and northeastern North Dakota, including Baudette, Minnesota; Drayton, Minnesota and Thief River Falls.

The Herald reports that police finally arrested Biteman after a tip from a Thomas, North Dakota, sugar beet farmer, who had hired Biteman to haul produce. Biteman had showed up for the job in the plane.

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