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26-year-old man facing federal charges for driving stolen vehicle through Cleveland Hopkins airfield gate

Posted at 2:56 PM, Nov 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-05 17:31:13-05

CLEVELAND — A Brunswick man who drove a stolen car through an airfield gate at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and then ran onto the airfield has been charged in federal court via criminal complaint.

According to Northern District of Ohio court records, the defendant, Benjamin Woolley, is charged with entering aircraft or airport area in violation of security requirements, carjacking and destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities.

It happened around 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 23, the day before Thanksgiving. The incident caused Hopkins to delay or divert thousands of passengers while authorities responded.

According to authorities, Woolley allegedly stole a Volkswagen Tiguan in Fairview Park from a parking lot before driving it to the airport. The Volkswagen's driver had the vehicle parked with the door open and running while they looked for a lost pet.

Woolley approached the SUV, got in and started to drive away, but the vehicle owner jumped through the front passenger window only to be ejected when the vehicle accelerated, authorities said. The vehicle owner sustained non-life-threatening injuries during the incident after they were dragged around 150 feet.

Court records state that once at the airport, Woolley damaged the facility's main radar antenna tower and disabled its power source. Due to the damage, the airport had to use its backup radar system until repairs were made.

During his arrest, the man told police he was a "veteran from overseas" and "wanted to make a statement for those who do not have a voice in society," court records state. He also told police he wanted his children to have a "good Thanksgiving and needed the vehicle to do so" in order to visit family members in Alabama.

According to court records, Woolley has been ordered to remain in custody and be evaluated by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist to determine if he is competent to stand trial.

RELATED: 26-year-old man drives stolen vehicle through airfield gate at Cleveland Hopkins on the eve of Thanksgiving

You can watch more about the airport incident in the player below:

26YO man drives stolen vehicle through airfield gate at CLE Hopkins Wed. night

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