State police are investigating a security breach at Worcester Regional Airport after a 31-year-old Leominster man believed to have mental health issues accessed a restricted area.
The incident was reported just before 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday when a man somehow got access to a fuel truck and drove in on the airport’s taxiway before a flight from Fort Lauderdale was set to land.
Massachusetts State Police troopers responded to the call and found the man sitting inside the shell of a fuselage used by firefighters for training exercises, according to officials. State police said the man was incoherent and had tar smeared on his face at the time he was located.
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Determining that the man had a mental illness, troopers requested assistance from EMTs so they could evaluate him. UMass Medical Center officials determined the man was not a threat to anyone but said he should seek a mental health evaluation.
As the investigation developed, authorities located the man’s vehicle parked near an airport building and said a pickup truck nearby was vandalized. Officials determined the suspect vandalized the truck and they found a spilled bucket of tar in the area.
Officials did not name the man due to his mental health, but court documents named him as Laurence Murphy. A source told NBC10 Boston that Murphy was a veteran who served in Afghanistan.
Court documents state Murphy smeared the words "LUV" and "LOL" with tar in the fuel truck he allegedly hijinxed. The complaint said when he was found, Murphy "smiled and tried to fasten his seatbelt."
The criminal complaint states when an officer asked what he was doing, Murphy replied, "You figure it out."
He allegedly showed officers he scaled a fence and stepped over three rings of barbed wire to access the restricted zone.
Murphy was taken to the state police Brookfield Barracks, where he was charged with trespassing, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, breaking and entering and malicious destruction of property. He was arraigned Thursday.
No injuries were reported.
The incident did not impact the flight from Fort Lauderdale and the Massachusetts Port Authority said there were no "operational impacts."
"Massport and the State Police have reviewed all security procedures and protocols at the airport. Security measures at Massport facilities are multi-layered and consistent with TSA regulations, and appropriately coordinated with other federal, state and local law enforcement partners. Safety and security is our top priority and we remain confident that the facility is safe," read a statement from Massport.