Long Island Town Dismantles Plane Parked in Man's Driveway

Harold Guretzky, 70, said he plans to sue the town for $5 million and threatened to use a crossbow on anyone who touched the plane

A 70-year-old Long Island man who allegedly ignored 17 summonses calling for him to remove a plane parked in his driveway threatened to use a crossbow on town officials who dismantled it.

Crews spent most of the day Thursday disassembling the single-engine Cessna parked outside Harold Guretzky's home in Oceanside, ending a 1½-year saga that pitted Guretzky against his neighbors and the town.

"We gave him a deadline of yesterday to move the plane and he did not do so," said town supervisor Anthony Santino.

Guretzky, who is outside the country, said by phone Thursday he plans to sue the town for $5 million.

"They have no right to take property licensed by the federal government," he said. 

He also threatened to use a crossbow on anyone who touched the aircraft.

"I'm glad I'm not there. If I would be there — I have a crossbow — anybody who comes near that airplane, I'd shoot right through their [expletive] chest," he said.

The plane, dubbed the "Spirit of Oceanside," was removed from Guretzky's driveway piece by piece before being loaded onto a flatbed and carted to a Hempstead park for storage. 

Town officials said housing the aircraft in Guretzky's driveway violates building safety codes.

"It's a relief to the entire area," said one neighbor. "It's very dangerous."

Last year, Guretzky likened it to parking a boat in a driveway and has said he didn't have money to house the plane in a hangar. Some neighbors, however, said there's no comparison.

"There's just no reason for it to be here," said Vincent Labruzzi. "It's not a boat you can put in the water. You can't go down the street and take off, so what's the point?"

Others sympathized with Guretzky.

"He did everything the town asked him to do, and they're still taking it away," one woman said.

Town officials said they plan to bill Guretzky for the cost of removing the plane.

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