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Transient sneaks onto jet, caught smoking a cigarette before being arrested

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Police have arrested a man who sneaked through a vehicle entrance at Van Nuys Airport and boarded a jet, where he hung out smoking a cigarette.

Employees discovered the 25-year-old transient Thursday afternoon on a Gulfstream G4 at the airport, which serves noncommercial flights.

Los Angeles Airport Police said he hid behind a vehicle entering the airfield and made it to a hangar, then boarded the plane. When confronted, he put out the cigarette, causing about $5,000 in interior damage.

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He was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and vandalism.

The airport has seen several other intrusions in recent months, including an incident in which taggers spray-painted three jets. An Associated Press investigation showed that, nationally, people get past airport perimeter security more often than authorities publicly acknowledge.

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