An east Texas man charged with stealing a small plane he crashed Wednesday claims he bought it online, according to police.

Athens Municipal Airport workers saw the plane flying low and erratically and called its owner, who said he hadn't given permission for someone else to fly it. Athens police Sgt. Don Yarbrough said the plane then crashed in a field.

Joshua Paul Calhoun started to leave in his truck but stepped out of the moving vehicle toward police when he saw them, Yarbrough said.

Police said the 25-year-old Brownsboro man claims he wired $52,000 to someone he encountered online to buy the $250,000 Bonanza 836.

Yarbrough also says the man Calhoun claimed flew the aircraft has been dead for months.

Calhoun suffered minor injuries and was jailed.