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Man ordered to surrender his guns after threatening Air Care
GREEN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Joe Webb) -- A judge took Leonard Pflanz's threat to shoot down Air Care very seriously.
Pflanz can post bond and live under home incarceration but he will be forced to give up all of his guns. Air care shut down Sunday after the Green Township man confronted a crew that had transferred a patient to Mercy West Hospital.
The good news was it was just a threat. No one was injured during the confrontation and Air Care began flying again. Local 12 spoke with Pflanz's neighbors and his attorney Monday, who paint a clearer picture of what led up to Sunday's confrontation.
Lenny Pflanz appeared in court Monday morning on misconduct, menacing and disrupting public service charges. The judge set bond, ordered home incarceration and when the set up completes, Green Township police will take all his weapons.
It stemmed from a confrontation Sunday morning at the Mercy West helipad. Police said Pflanz confronted the air care crew and told them if they flew over their house again he'd shoot the helicopter. His attorney said the tension had been building.
"I would suggest this was not some random or one-time, unprovoked incident. He has expressed concern before. I would imagine he might be getting a little frustrated," Tim Nolan, Pflanz's attorney said.
Nolan said Pflanz had complained to Mercy West on more than one occasion. Local 12 contacted them and could not confirm that.
In Pflanz's neighborhood, few people would talk because they feared reprisal. Lenny Pflanz has a reputation for being vengeful and litigious. The people Local 12 was able to speak with said the helicopters are not a problem to them. They didn't hear the Air Care chopper Sunday and think Lenny Pflanz overreacted.
Neighbor Tom Ludwick said, "I don't feel it's my place to judge anybody. I just know I wouldn't have did that. That's all."
"We didn't ask for the hospital to be here; the township voted it in. It's something we have to live with. And if it was me in the helicopter I would want to get to the helipad as quick as possible and let the pilot do whatever he needs to do to get me there," said another neighbor.
Pflanz's house was located only a mile or so from the Mercy West helipad and he drove to it Sunday morning. The patient was already in the hospital by the time he'd arrived. He confronted a pilot, nurse and doctor who were on the flight.
UC Health Care said the confrontation, "Interfered with their medical mission to save lives."
Neighbors said Lenny Pflanz has had several disputes over property lines. In 2005 his next door neighbors sued after Pflanz re-surveyed and built a fence in what they thought was their front yard. Court records show they reached an agreement two years later.
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