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Army officer sentenced after bomb hoax

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – An Army officer who carried nunchucks, built a fake bomb and forced an evacuation at an Oklahoma Army base was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison Thursday.

First Lt. James Joseph Dabrowski, 28, also must pay about $19,000 in restitution after pleading guilty and being sentenced in an Oklahoma City courtroom on a charge of making a hoax regarding an explosive device, according to the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.

Dabrowski sprang his hoax April 21 at Fort Sill, near Lawton, when command officials met with him concerning his conduct in an office at Snow Hall.

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Dabrowski had recently been arrested for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and threatening police officers, according to a court affidavit signed by FBI special agent Steven Shapiro. Army officials also became concerned after visiting Dabrowski’s off-base residence and finding a note, which stated that no one could enter.

When Dabrowski arrived at the Snow Hall office with a backpack, a superior officer told him to empty its contents.

“Dabrowski was observed tightly clutching his backpack as he removed a 10-12 inch knife and nunchucks from his backpack,” Shapiro’s affidavit stated. “He knew possession of the weapons was illegal. However, he was carrying them because he felt threatened and was prepared to defend himself.”

Dabrowski then agreed to meet with a base chaplain, but only after mentioning that his weapons were “fully insured,” according to court documents.

When told he couldn’t have his weapons back, Dabrowski reached back into his backpack, pulled out a cardboard box and said he was taking out his “insurance policy.”

He opened the box and revealed a 60 mm mortar shell with wires, a timer, tubing and a liquid container, according to the affidavit.

All personnel then began evacuating Snow Hall. Before leaving the building, Dabrowski found a chaplain and told him the bomb was a fake, according to court records.

Army Criminal Investigation Command agents promptly arrested Dabrowski following the incident. Dabrowski said he knew the mortar shell was inert when he purchased it at a pawn shop, according to court records. He told agents “he knew how to build something that looks like a bomb, but didn’t have the knowledge to make it explode,” Shapiro’s affidavit stated.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol Bomb Squad, an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, Army special agents and the FBI all searched Dabrowski’s residence afterward, but found no explosives.

Dabrowski was found fit to stand trial following a psychological evaluation, according to court documents.

slavine@pstripes.osd.mil

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