SANTA ANA (CBSLA) – Officials at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana confirmed a security breach in one of their terminals Friday evening.
A person reportedly breached one of the terminals, getting down to the tarmac and, according to law enforcement, stole either a tug vehicle or a truck and for a short time were down on the taxiway before abandoning the vehicle and fleeing on foot.
A number of planes were stuck on a runway, with passengers aboard, for an unspecified period of time.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department hovered over the tarmac at about 300 feet in the department’s helicopter, scouring the tarmac for the suspect, but came up empty.
A terminal was cleared during the initial hunt for the suspect and then later reopened. However, it was closed yet again after deputies noticed debris on the ground in the ticketing area. It was then discovered that the suspect had somehow climbed up into the ceiling and was hiding.
After some negotiations and police passing a bottle of water up into the ceiling, the suspect climbed down a ladder and was arrested.