A 53-year-old pilot for Endeavor Air, a regional subsidiary of Delta, was arrested Friday after police say he tagged bathrooms, elevators and cars at the Tallahassee International Airport with racial slurs and messages supporting President Donald Trump.
The graffiti the Tallahassee Police Department traced to James E. Dees included things like “#MAGA,” a nod to the president’s popularized slogan, "Send them all back" and multiple racial slurs directed at African-Americans and Hispanics, court records show.
His vandalism streak began just two days before Christmas in 2018. Police point to 20 different instances of vandalism that they believe are connected to Dees.
On Dec. 12, investigators believed they captured footage of the graffiti in progress. Dees, who at that time had only been identified as a pilot, entered the elevator in the airport’s parking lot at about 5 p.m.
Dees was captured after a surveillance camera was hidden in an elevator at the airport following the spate of graffiti.
In the video, according to court records, he can be seen turning to one panel, making motions consistent with writing, then exiting the elevator.
On Jan. 7, Dees was approached by Tallahassee Police officers as he waited for his outbound flight. When he was told about the covert camera, he admitted he was behind the graffiti.
He confirmed he did the writing on vehicles in the parking lot, in the elevator and in the men’s bathroom, telling police he has been going through a “really rough time,” and has anger issues.
He was told he was allowed to leave, and he began to board the flight. Instead, he returned and told police he was not in the “right state of mind” to fly a plane, and he left the airport.
Dees is being charged with nine counts of criminal mischief and posted bond around 1 p.m. EST Friday. The damage is estimated to be close to $200.
If convicted, the Perry, Florida, resident faces a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.
The Tallahassee Democrat, part of the USA TODAY Network, has reached out to Endeavor, a Minneapolis-based regional carrier, for comment.
Fed Ex truck crash: Damage from crash at TLH airport caused flight delays, cancellations
Tallahassee police: Florida man drove on airport runway after stealing FedEx truck to get home
Contact Karl Etters at email@example.com or @KarlEtters on Twitter.
Never miss a story: Subscribe to the Tallahassee Democrat.
This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Pilot caught writing slurs, pro-Trump graffiti at Tallahassee airport