AP NEWS

Leominster Man Charged After Driving Worcester Airport Truck

May 4, 2019

By Jon Winkler

jwinkler@nashobavalleyvoice.com

WORCESTER -- A 31-year-old resident of Leominster was charged with trespassing and illegally using a motor vehicle this week after driving a fuel truck around the aircraft taxi area of Worcester Regional Airport.

Laurence J. Murphy IV, of Pennsylvania Avenue, allegedly scaled a fence and stepped over three rungs of barbed wire at the airport before taking the 2016 Navistar fuel truck for a joyride on Wednesday at around 6:24 p.m., according to a report by the Telegram & Gazette.

He pleaded not guilty in Worcester District Court Thursday to charges of malicious destruction of property valued at more than $1,200 along with using a motor vehicle without authority, trespassing and misdemeanor breaking and entering.

State Police troopers found Murphy sitting inside a fuselage shell firefighters use for training exercises. After seeing what was believed to be tar smeared on his face and listening to him speak incoherently, troopers believed he was suffering from mental illness. EMTs from UMass Medical Center were called to the scene and concluded that he was not a threat to himself or others. Police later found his car parked near one of the airport buildings and a pickup truck that was vandalized, allegedly by the suspect.

The Telegram & Gazette reports notes the statement of an employee of Rectrix Aerodome Center, a private company at the airport, who told police that he followed the suspect as he drove to the fuselage. Though the employee stopped and tried to identify the suspect, he told police Murphy made strange statements and appeared to be reaching for something, causing him to back off.

Murphy was released on his own recognizance by Judge David B. Locke, who ordered Murphy to stay away from the airport and comply with an evaluation made by the Veterans Administration. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for June 6.