Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Teen Charged After Vandalizing Military Plane at Florissant Park

Alexander Wright
Wright’s bail was set at $40,000....  faces four felony counts in connection with the gasoline bombing of a 1950s era fighter jet at Eagan Park in Florissant.  If convicted on all four counts, he faces up to 22 years in prison. 

Plane at Florissant Valley Park

FLORISSANT • An 18-year-old has been charged with four felonies after police say he tried to set a decommissioned fighter jet on fire with Molotov cocktails last year. 

St. Louis County prosecutors charged Alexander Wright of the 1400 block of St. Anthony Lane on July 15 with two counts of knowingly burning or exploding and two counts of unlawful possession of certain weapons. Wright's bail has been set at $40,000.
Police say Wright admitted to making and throwing Molotov cocktails at the airplane on display in Florissant Valley Park on May 19 and May 20, 2012, according to court documents.

"He had nothing better to do and decided to cause some trouble for some people," said Florissant Officer Andy Haarmann

Molotov cocktails are mixtures of explosive substances, such as gas, inside glass bottles with sources of ignition such as a burning cloth wick usually stuffed into the bottle's stopper.

The explosions scorched some of the paint on the plane and graffiti covered one side of the aircraft, but Haarmann said the city's Parks and Recreation department worked with several volunteers from Boeing to restore the display.

The plane is an F-101 "Voodoo" and was built in 1958 at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation, now Boeing, according to an information display near the aircraft.

It entered The Air Force in March 1960 and was assigned to the Air Defense Command's 52nd Fighter Group Consolidated Aircraft Maintenance Squadron in Suffolk County Air Force Base in New York.

From July 1963 through September 1969, the 4755th Air Defense Group used it before it was assigned to the Air Defense Weapons Center in Tyndall, Fla.

Then for most of the 1970s the aircraft was stationed with the Texas Air Guard 11th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston, Texas. It was retired from service due to wing root corrosion in January 1979.

From September 1991 through August 2004, the Air Force donated the aircraft to the city of Victoria in Texcas to be restored an placed on display at the Victoria Regional Airport.

The Air Force then donated it to the city of Florissant in 2004, where it has remained on display as a memorial to honor veterans from the north St. Louis County area.