An airplane was stolen from the Boundary County Airport early Tuesday.
It was the latest in a string of unusual incidents near the U.S.-Canada border in the past week.
Thieves broke into the Creston, B.C., airport three nights in a row, eating food and drinking beer in private hangars and taking several handguns.
Someone also unsuccessfully tried to steal a plane similar to the 2005 Cessna model T182T taken from the airport in North Idaho, said Jessica Short, airport office manager.
Authorities think the same group of people broke into the Boundary County Airport on Sunday night before returning late Monday or early Tuesday to take the plane. “It’s a really nice, brand-new, $340,000 plane,” Short said.
The owner of the plane, who lives in Bonners Ferry, bought a large padlock for the hangar after Sunday night’s break-in, Short said, but it didn’t deter the thieves.
“They have to have some kind of intelligence to steal an airplane without keys,” Short said.
Authorities suspect the thieves stole a car from the Creston airport and abandoned it at the border, then stole another car in Idaho and left it near the Boundary County airport.
A construction crew working near the airport saw the plane take off flying south about 5:45 a.m.
Investigators don’t know where the plane was headed or how many people were involved in the theft, according to the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office.
The U.S. Border Patrol is also investigating.