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Italy Arrests Fake Pilot Who Rode in Cockpit

By Alex Johnston
Epoch Times Staff
Created: September 23, 2012 Last Updated: September 24, 2012
Related articles: World » Europe
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Fake pilot "Andrea Sirlo" pretended he was a pilot for Lufthansa AG on his Facebook page and managed to secure a free ride in the cockpit on a flight of Lufthansa's Air Dolomiti. (Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

Fake pilot "Andrea Sirlo" pretended he was a pilot for Lufthansa AG on his Facebook page and managed to secure a free ride in the cockpit on a flight of Lufthansa's Air Dolomiti. (Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

Italian police have arrested an unemployed man who masqueraded as a pilot for fun and in order to travel for free.

Police said the 32-year-old man used the fake name Andrea Sirlo and posed as a foreign pilot using forged identity cards. Authorities took his uniforms and badges, according to Sky News. On at least one occasion, the man, whose name was not released, flew for free inside the cockpit aboard a flight from Munich, Germany, to Turin, Italy, in April.

“He’s so good that with his fake uniform, fake degrees and fake badge, he tricked a lot of people into believing he really was a pilot and also some crew members bought it,” said Turin police spokesman Filippo Vann, reported Sky News.

“That’s how he got a ‘lift’ on the Turin-Munich flight in the cockpit, actually in the seat reserved for special guests, behind the co-pilot.”

The fake pilot said that he saw the 2002 Leonardo DiCaprio film “Catch Me If You Can” and wanted to imitate the main character, Frank Abagnale, a con-man who faked being a pilot on more than 250 flights.

“I saw that film and I wanted to be like Frank Abagnale,” he was quoted by the Daily Telegraph as saying.

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