The best-laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

If you ever needed proof of that adage, look no further than Van Nuys Airport in California, one of the largest commercial airports anywhere.

In a fear-driven climate where little girls and little old ladies alike can’t board an airplane without being sexually molested by security personnel hell-bent on looking for terrorists, somehow a gang of punks managed to break through airport procedures unseen last weekend and commandeer an entire jet long enough to cover it in graffiti.

The Learjet, which belongs to a Malibu-based aviation company, was redecorated with the words “FLAME” and “RIP,” along with the initials of the “artiste” on one side of the fuselage, and clusters of other initials on the nose and tail section. Total damage is estimated at about $100,000.

The crack investigators at the airport and Los Angeles Police Department believe the graffiti to be “gang related and gang initiated.”

No, really?

It’s astounding, the powers of observation L.A. law enforcement have after the fact.

“This is a big deal to me, to have somebody who could get onto the airfield and who could do that kind of damage, that kind extensive graffiti to an aircraft, and not be seen,” the L.A. Times quoted Los Angeles Airport Police Chief Patrick Gannon as saying. “I’m not happy about it.”

The FBI’s reportedly not happy, either, as their agents have taken charge of the investigation into why a gang can break into a secure area of a major airport and linger while they do their dirty work. It’s obvious from the elaborate design of the graffiti that the punks took their time.