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Former bombing range manager faces new charges

MANNS HARBOR, N.C. — The former manager of the Dare County Bombing Range faces new charges three years after federal agents raided his Manns Harbor home.

An indictment states that Harry C. Mann took nearly $334,000 in kickbacks from Chowan County metal recycling companies and others over six years to scrap metal and equipment from the range. Navy and Air Force pilots use the site on mainland Dare County off U.S. 264 south of Manns Harbor for target practice.

Mann's attorney said Tuesday his client was carrying out government orders to get rid of junk in remote parts of the range.

His case is set for arraignment Sept. 15 in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, according to court documents.

Federal prosecutors are no longer pursuing an earlier indictment charging Mann with theft of government property worth $6.7 million.

"We are no longer charging him with stealing the government property that was ultimately scrapped," said Don Connelly, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

In 2010, Mann arranged for more than 10 tons of an aluminum runway to be hauled away to recyclers, according to the indictment filed June 18. A personnel carrier weighing 40,000 pounds was sent to be scrapped in 2007 or 2008, according to court documents.

In some cases, the salvagers would strip a functioning government vehicle to sell the motor, batteries and scrap metal, according to court documents.

Mann, who had worked at the range since the 1960s, lost his job in July 2011.

Mann's attorney, Elliot Abrams of Raleigh, said his client was carrying out instructions given to him in a letter from the military to clear remote parts of the vast range. The site nearly spans the width of Dare County mainland from the Alligator River to the Pamlico Sound.

"If he could do it at no charge to the government, he could keep what he could get rid of," Abrams said. "He did not take bribes. He did exactly what he was told to do."

The government cleared scrap from about 12,000 acres near roads. The rest was barely accessible and too costly to the government, he said.

"No question, he saved the government millions," Abrams said.
 

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