Watch CBS News

Johnny Hecker, 51, Of San Diego Identified As Suspect In Friday Security Breach At John Wayne Airport

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) - A 51-year-old man, Johnny Hecker of San Diego, has been identified by the Orange County Sheriff's Department as the suspect arrested for a security breach Friday at the John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana.

At approximately 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 20, Hecker is suspected of breaching a secure area where only airport employees are allowed, stealing an airport vehicle and driving it onto the airfield outside Terminal C.

John Wayne Airport
Passengers return to the terminals after security breach temporarily suspended operations at John Wayne Airport on Aug. 20. (CBSLA)

According to the OC Sheriff's Department, an emergency response system was activated and the terminal was placed on lockdown. It was then evacuated at around 6.pm. while a sweep of the terminal area and the airfield was conducted.

"We all obviously have plans to go somewhere and now stuck here dealing with this jerk who had to ruin it for us all," said Kacey Polanco, a passenger. 

Hecker was eventually found hiding in the ceiling near the ticketing area in the terminal. After some negotiations and officers passing a bottle of water up to Hecker, he came down a ladder and was arrested.

How the suspect got into the secure area of the airport in the first place is under investigation.

Several planes, with passengers onboard, were delayed for several hours. Passengers in the terminal who had to be evacuated had to be re-screened at security, which caused long lines.

"I think when you go to an airport you expect so much security that it's surprising when something like this happens even though the system is actually working behind the scenes," said Jeff Price, an aviation security expert. 

According to a tweet by the OC Sheriff's Department, Hecker will be booked into the Orange County Jail on charges of trespassing and vandalism.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.