This storage lot hardly appears to be the place you'd store millions of dollars in aviation hardware. The gate is locked, though rickety....and it's a simple matter to just walk around the fence. The yard itself looks more like the set of Sanford and Son...than a crime scene. Rusted, derelict vehicles, scrap iron and wood, but this is where Aviation Technologies Limited says it stored 24 jet engines for a decade or so. They say they were worth between $22 and 55 million dollars. The engines...manufactured by Pratt and Whitney and General Electric weigh nearly a ton apiece. They once powered the A-4 Skyhawk Attack Bomber....a workhorse for decades for the U-S Navy and Marines...still in limited service in countries like Kuwait, Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina.
There's no sign of the engines now but they are visible in this aerial photo from 2002.
Sgt. Keith Brown, Reno Police Department, says "we have reports of them disappearing a few weeks ago or 8 months ago. Whenever they were moved it was hardly a stealth operation. For one thing they weighed about a ton each."
" We're thinking a flat bed truck and a fork lift or crane, Where they might have gone is a bigger mystery. They're of limited use...except in an A-4 Skyhawk" They are being commonly used these days in jet-powered drag racers. And some witnesses describe them as simply rusted scrap.
But they would like to clear this case. It's likely someone saw these engines being removed and thought little of it. If you have any information call Reno Police or Secret Witness at 322-4900.
We were unable to contact the company any further information. A call to their listing goes to an answering machine at the Tonopah Airport. By the way, Reno Police see no Homeland Security issues in the engines disappearance. Even if they are still in serviceable condition, they aren't much use unless you own an A-4 Skyhawk or are building a jet dragster.