Camp Hovey bandit gets 20 months in prison
October 17, 2007
CAMP CASEY, South Korea — A 2nd Infantry Division soldier’s plea of guilty to a long list of larcenies and other crimes from October 2006 through March earned him 20 months in prison and a dishonorable discharge Monday.
Pvt. Christopher A. Hoffman, of 1st Battalion, 15th Field Artillery, acted as a lookout on several occasions for Pvt. Bud Dwelly, who was sentenced to 42 months of prison in June for heisting $15,000 from the Camp Hovey Iron Triangle Club and selling stolen Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs) online.
Hoffman didn’t participate in the club robbery but did help steal laptops from an Army supply shop, hundreds of dollars in change from vending machines at Hovey Gym and the combined troop aid station and 20 boxes of MREs from a supply room.
He also pleaded guilty to two counts of breaking and entering and one count of conspiracy in a planned armed robbery.
On March 10, Dwelly concocted a plan to rob a money exchange store in Itaewon. Hoffman and Pfc. Juan A. Rivera agreed to use “bear spray,” a form of pepper spray, on a clerk, then subdue the clerk while Dwelly stole the money.
They took a train from Dongducheon to Seoul Station where, Hoffman testified, he waited while Dwelly and Rivera cased the shop on their scooters.
“They came back and said it wasn’t open, so it never happened,” Hoffman told the court.
Hoffman also pleaded guilty to destroying government property when he dumped the MRE cases in the garbage after Dwelly called and said investigators were on the trail.
The group’s crimes led 1st Sgt. David T. Locket, of Bravo Company, 1st Special Troops Battalion, to reinforce doors with added locks after being robbed twice. The laptop losses included critical data, Locket told the court.
“We had to restart all over to redevelop our standard operating procedures,” Locket said. “We also had to shut down supply (section).”
During sentencing, Hoffman apologized to his unit, the court and his family.
“My parents raised me right and I know I let them down,” he said.
Hoffman’s defense portrayed him as someone who fell in with the wrong crowd, then cooperated with investigators to help arrest Dwelly.
Prosecutors said it didn’t matter that Hoffman was usually just a lookout.
“The bottom line is that he participated in a series of serious offenses that plagued Camp Hovey and enabled those offenses to occur,” prosecutor Maj. Thomas Crumley said.
Because of the long list of crimes, Hoffman faced a maximum of 41½ years in prison.
Judge (Col.) Donna Wright sentenced Hoffman to 30 months in prison, but in the military justice system, the lesser of the judge’s sentence and the pretrial agreement is sent to the convening authority for approval.