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Man Steals Van & Then Attempts to Hi-Jack Plane at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport


Lakeland Police Department Press Release
LAKELAND, FL (June 23, 2017) – On June 22, 2016 at 2:02 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to a motor vehicle theft that had just occurred at 3304 Harden Blvd.

The victim, Allen Stokes, Jr. of Orlando was working at the location as a surveyor for National Data and Surveying Services. Stokes had stepped out of his 2008 Dodge van and was removing tools from the rear of the van. He observed the suspect, Gregory A. Hoch, 37 years old, riding by on a bicycle. The next thing the victim knew, Hoch was in the driver’s seat driving off in the van.

A nearby witness, Gregory Mulvihill, saw Hoch get into the van and suspected that he had stolen the van. Mulvihill followed the stolen van and notified law enforcement reporting the incident and direction of travel. At one point, Hoch hit a curb and blew a tire, but continued for approximately 5 miles to the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport.

Lieutenant Eric Harper, who was nearby in a marked patrol car, responded to the area and made contact with Mulvihill. At this time, Mulvihill pointed out Hoch who had run through a business, Double M Aviation, and entered the airfield owned by the City of Lakeland. After gaining access to the runway, Lt. Harper ordered Hoch to stop running several times as he ran around several planes. Hoch then jumped onto the wing of a taxing 1978 Piper PA-28R Arrow that was running and preparing to taxi down the runway. Hoch started pulling on the planes door to gain entry. Lt. Harper, pursued Hoch onto the wing of the airplane and pulled Hoch from out of the airplane just as he had gained entry. Hoch and Lt. Harper fell back on the wing and then the runway. Hoch resisted arrest and was eventually taken into custody and transported to the Lakeland Police Department.

The pilot identified as Rodrigo Cabral, 52 years old of Winter Garden, was not injured. Hoch made a spontaneous statement saying that he was going to make the pilot take him somewhere. Hoch was also in possession of $384.00 in property that he removed from the stolen Dodge van when he was arrested.

Hoch was charged with:

2counts of Grand Theft
1count of Trespassing
1 count of Burglary to an Occupied Conveyance (Airplane)
Resisting Arrest without Violence.

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