Warrant issued for pilot after Cape May beach landing

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ByBob Brooks via WPVI logo
Monday, June 25, 2018
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Arrest warrant issued for pilot: as seen on Action News at 4 p.m., June 26, 2018.

CAPE MAY, N.J. (WPVI) -- Authorities are continuing their work to unravel a mysterious and wild flight over the Jersey shore.

Action News has learned the plane that flew dangerously low to the ground belongs to an advertising company in Middle Township, New Jersey.

Jimmy Dahlen Jr. is a mechanic for Paramount Air Services, the banner plane company that owns the Piper PA12. The owner of Paramount Air says the pilot is her stepson, who took the plane after-hours on Sunday night. The search continues to find him.

The Piper PA12 aircraft was put on a flatbed truck, its wings removed as it was removed from The Coast Guard facility in Cape May Monday afternoon.

Courtesy: Brianna Lockwood

Less than 24 hours before it was seen flying over various parts of the Jersey shore.

Several eyewitnesses captured cell phone video of the plane.

In one video, taken in Wildwood, the mystery pilot can be seen coming dangerously close to homes, boats along the bay and even crowded beaches.

People say they thought he was just someone trying to show off, but then it looked like he could crash.

"It looked like it was going to be bad," said Kyle Kreisler. "He kept going up and nosediving."

Clark Morris of Wildwood says the plane was "probably three feet above the antennas of my boat. I was ready to jump overboard."

Officials say Dahlen flew farther south, and that just before 8 p.m. the plane on the beach inside the secure Coast Guard training facility in Cape May.

At first they say the pilot tried to take off back into the air from the beach but failed.

Officers immediately responded, but when they got to the plane it was empty.

Officials say Dahlen is seen on surveillance video getting out and running away.

"The Cape May County Sheriff's Department used dogs to try and pick up a scent," said USCG External Affairs Officer John Edwards. "We also found physical tracks that were leading away from the training center."

On Monday we found out the pilot is an employee of Paramount Air in Green Creek - an advertising business that flies banners over the beach.

The owners says she has no idea why he did this, but she is cooperating with the investigation and adds that no one has heard from him since this happened.

The plane wasn't damaged in the incident.

Authorities haven't said what charges Dahlen is facing.

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