Police ask for help in case of plane theft, missing pilot at Watsonville Airport; surveillance video released

WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- The mystery has deepened in the case of a stolen plane in Watsonville. Investigators believe it was stolen by 64-year-old Hugo Mar. They say the plane crashed with no survivors off the Santa Cruz County coast in late June after it was taken from the Watsonville Municipal Airport.

"We do have video surveillance the night the plane was stolen that show the plane taxiing the runway at about 10:30 p.m.," said" Michelle Pulido, press officer for the Watsonville Police Department.

On June 26, investigators believe the 64-year old Watsonville resident stole a single-engine Cessna and flew it out of the Watsonville Municipal Airport, before crashing into the ocean.

The FAA says the plane disappeared from radar about three miles out and over the ocean. However, the Coast Guard has stopped their search. To date, no wreckage or body has been recovered. Family members of Mar were at the press conference on Thursday, they appeared emotional and would not speak to media.

"Detectives did find Hugo Mar's car had been abandoned, was parked in a parking lot near the airport," said Pulido. "It's a parking lot commonly used by pilots."

Mar was an active member of the Santa Cruz Flying Club and had authorization to get into Watsonville airport. On the club's website, it states that Mar was in good standing with the club but failed to follow protocol by not making a reservation to use the plane on that night.

"We believe the airport is secure but someone that is authorized, does have access and has been a pilot before, we believe this is a tragic incident," said Rayvon Williams, director for the Watsonville Municipal Airport.

Mar has no history with police, investigators say they are looking for leads on why Mar would have stolen the plane.

"We're asking any person who may have had any contact or may have seen Hugo Mar to call the Watsonville Police Department," said Pulido.
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