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Indiana Man Sentenced to 51 Months Imprisonment and $906,000 in Restitution for the Willful Destruction of an Aircraft and Sending False Distress Calls

On August 19, in U.S. District Court, in, Pensacola, Florida, Marcus Schrenker was sentenced to 51 months imprisonment, followed by three years supervised release, and ordered to pay $34,649.07 restitution to the U.S. Coast Guard and $871,387.85 to Harley Davidson Credit Corporation. On June 5, Mr. Schrenker pled guilty to willfully wrecking an aircraft, and causing the U.S. Coast Guard to attempt to save his life and property when no help was needed. On January 11, 2009, Mr. Schrenker, while en–route to Destin, Florida, made several false distress calls to the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center (AARTCC) stating his windshield was cracking and he was injured. In response to the call, the U.S. Coast Guard launched a search and rescue effort in anticipation of a potential crash. Subsequent search and rescue efforts discovered no body at the scene of the crash and no damage to the aircraft’s windscreen. It was later determined that Mr. Schrenker set the plane on autopilot and parachuted out of the aircraft. Mr. Schrenker subsequently admitted to making the false distress calls intending to crash the aircraft in the Gulf of Mexico. This investigation was conducted jointly with the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, with outstanding assistance from the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Department, the Gadsden County Office, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Air Force 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron–McChord Air Force Base, the Louisiana Air National Guard, the Tallahassee Police Department, the Harpersville Police Department, the Talladega Police Department, the Childersburg Police Department, the Vincent Police Department, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.