LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Pilots called for a meeting between airport officials and users of the North Las Vegas Airport after a thief burglarized several planes, stole one and flew to the California desert.

Images of the high-flying heist went viral: the plane’s owner said they discovered bottles and cans of beer and a smoked joint in the cockpit. The suspect, Damian Zukaitis, is still in jail in San Bernardino on a hold by federal authorities and a unrelated warrant for arrest out of Ada County, Idaho. The FBI has taken over the investigation and has still not released the motive.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association helped coordinate and moderate the meeting between concerned pilots and airport leaders.

“There were a lot of good ideas brought to the table that I think the airport will have to consider, and I think might be good improvements to security. If the pilots and airport can continue to work together on positive progress on security improvements, I think it might actually go a long way in helping,” said Jared Yoshiki of AOPA.

“We want to work with airport officials to make the airport safer and secure, but we don’t want to have our access impeded,” said Jeff Lustick, aviation attorney and pilot.

“This remains an ongoing investigation,” an airport spokesperson told FOX5 via email. Airport officials previously released lengthy statements addressing security: “The safety and security of our tenants, pilots and passengers is always a top priority … we consistently review procedures and practices.”

A spokesperson with the Transportation Security Administration tells FOX5, though the agency does not oversee the North Las Vegas Airport, it can assist with providing expertise to local authorities.


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