Fake Lufthansa pilot arrested in Turin Airport
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It sounds just like a scene from the 2002 Leonardo DiCaprio film, Catch Me If You Can, but a man who posed as an airline pilot has been arrested in Turin airport.
NBC News reports that the 32-year-old man, whose real name has not been released, allegedly created a fake identity as a Lufthansa pilot named 'Andrea Sirlo' - and even had a Facebook page that included fake flight attendant friends.
A Civil Aviation lieutenant reported him to police several months ago, after 'Sirlo' introduced himself as a captain - a job he looked too young to be qualified for.
The national military police then tracked him down through photos on his Facebook page, in which he poses in uniform and sunglasses in front of planes.
He was arrested after officers approached him in a bar outside Turin Airport's check-in area on Friday. He was wearing a pilot's uniform with no company logo on it, and drinking coffee.
He then led police to a garage containing white shirts with epaulettes, black trousers and jackets, like those worn by pilots.
Police also seized fake CVs, airline badges and an airport staff parking permit. Turin Airport said that permits had not been issued in that name.
BBC News reports that he was charged with endangering air transport security and impersonation. So far, there is no clear motive for his actions.
In an statement, police confirmed that he had travelled on at least one flight as a "third pilot" sitting in the cockpit, although he did not touch the controls.
Police said: "On at least one occasion in 2012, pretending to be a pilot of a foreign commercial airline, and with a fake name, he succeeded in flying as the third pilot in the cockpit."
According to Italian News agency, Ansa, this flight took place on April 6.
In addition, a profile on a website where users can track their flights shows "Pilot Andrea Sirlo" flying from Munich Airport to Turin on October 23, 2011.
'Sirlo's' adventures are reminiscent of those of conman Frank Abagnale, who is said to have flown more than one million miles as a fake Pan American pilot in the 1960s. His story was dramatised in the film Catch Me If You Can, with Leonardo DiCaprio playing the lead role.
Click on the image below to see if you can guess the cabin crew...