Reporting Tony Aiello
WESTWOOD, N.J. (CBS 2) - A New Jersey dad wanted school spirit to soar, so he took to the skies. As CBS 2′s Tony Aiello reports, the stunt landed him in hot water.
The suspect left a paper trail of toilet paper: three rolls dropped out of a plane allegedly by 60-year-old pilot Warren Saunders.
“In my 55 years, I’ve never seen anything like this. Actually just watching in disbelief that anyone could be so stupid,” said Steve Lillien of Essex Township Resident.
Saunders faces charges and the likely loss of his license to fly.
Lillien and his daughter witnessed the bizarre incident Wednesday evening. While dozens of kids played soccer on a field, cops said Saunders flew his cessna at about 1,000 feet, circled three times and dropping the toilet paper onto the field.
A block away, Leo Savas couldn’t believe his eyes. “I’m flabbergasted, absolutely flabbergasted, that around here people have no brains, to do something like that.”
Police said Saunders told them the drop was something of a trial run for a stunt he hoped to pull on Saturday, when Westwood High takes on football rival Mahwah, a big game to be played right at the same field.
“The pilot had intended on Saturday to come overhead and toss some sort of fliers with the Westwood colors up in order to rally the fans for the football game,” said Frank Regino of Westwood Police Chief.
Saunders left court without commenting, getting in his car, festooned with stickers supporting Westwood football. His son’s on the team.
“I guess that’s old fashioned school spirit. I guess it was good intentions,” said neighbor Mike Arrington.
Good intentions, but bad judgment, could land Saunders in jail for a year.
In this post-9/11 world, the incident brought out the local hazmat team. Saunders was charged with dropping items from an airplane without a permit.
The FAA was also reviewing the case.