Fri, May 09, 2008
F-14, F/A-18 Stripped Of Wiring, "Fully Demilitarized"
The theft of scrap metal is a growing problem across the
country, but this is a little over-the-top. Investigators are
trying to figure out how three jet fighter cockpits got diverted
from their normal demilitarization process, and wound up in private
The Asbury Park Press in New Jersey reports the US Navy showed
up on Apple Farm Road in Middletown with a forklift, a flatbed
truck and about 20 troops from Naval Weapons Station Earle, where
Special Agent Terry O'Connor of the Naval Criminal Investigative
Service told the paper they'll be held as evidence.
Investigators did not identify who had the two F-14 cockpits,
and one belonging to an F/A-18. They didn't give the exact address
where the military machinery was found, either.
O'Connor downplayed the military value of the cockpits, saying
they were "fully demilitarized" and no longer contained weapons
control systems or other technically sensitive material. "Even
their wiring had been removed," he added.
"These are items that could be sold as scrap or even used as
displays or simulators. They were removed somewhere along the
way...and we're trying to determine when and how that
O'Connor said the cockpits weigh between 2,000 and 4,000 pounds
each. So far, no one's been charged with a crime.
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