Two soldiers convicted in attempted robbery case in Germany
WIESBADEN, Germany — Two soldiers were convicted this week of attempting to rob a 19-year-old Arab last August as he walked to his bakery job in Mainz-Kastel.
In separate special courts-martial, Spc. Almahdi Hosang and Pfc. Isaac Romo were convicted of attempted larceny, assault with a dangerous weapon and making a false official statement to authorities. Additionally, Hosang was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery, while Romo got convicted for showing disrespect to a noncommissioned officer. Romo, however, was exonerated on the conspiracy charge.
Romo got four months in prison; Hosang received a year and partial garnishment of wages. Both were demoted to the lowest enlisted grade and given a bad-conduct discharge.
Hosang was assigned to the 123rd Main Support Battalion in nearby Dexheim. Romo worked for Special Troops Battalion, 1st Armored Division in Wiesbaden.
While the attempted theft failed, due to the fact their quarry was carrying no cash, Hosang “robbed the United States Army of its honor and integrity,” said Capt. Todd Lindquist, one of two attorneys who prosecuted both cases.
In the early morning hours of Aug. 18, 2007, Shhade Hana, who is of Syrian descent, was walking to work when a car driven by Romo crept by and then stopped up ahead. Romo exited the car and approached Hana, an apprentice at a local bakery. Hana, who is fluent in German but not in English, wasn’t sure what Romo wanted until Hosang emerged from the front passenger seat wearing a black ski mask and carrying an expandable baton.
Hana testified through an interpreter that Hosang waved the baton in a menacing way and acted aggressively. By comparison, Romo was mild. Hana told the pair he had no money and opened his billfold to prove it. The incident lasted only a few minutes and Hana wasn’t physically harmed.
After the two soldiers drove away, Hana called German police to report the incident. He described the car, provided police with a partial license plate number and spoke of Romo’s distinctive sweater.
A short time later, German police spotted Romo’s car in a parking lot near a popular nightclub. The two soldiers were standing outside, waiting to get in. A search of the car led to the recovery of the baton and ski mask.