Army Sergeant Charged with Stealing Machine Gun Elements, Smoke Grenade After Brigade-Vast Search

An Army noncommissioned officer has been charged with allegedly stealing machine gun elements and a smoke grenade, the disappearance of which set off a chaotic brigade-wide recall and search on and round Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.

Sgt. Christopher Shepler, an organization NCO from fifth Battalion, twentieth Infantry Regiment, 1-2 Stryker Brigade Fight Crew, was charged with larceny and lack of army property, in accordance with a Monday assertion from seventh Infantry Division spokesperson, Lt. Col. Bryen Freigo.

The costs, filed final month, allege that Shepler stole an M2 .50-caliber machine gun receiver and an M240 machine gun barrel, along with the smoke grenade.

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The .50 cal piece was first reported lacking on Oct. 7 by 5-20’s sister firm, 2nd Battalion, third Infantry Regiment. The weapon was left within the care of 2-3’s workers responsibility for troopers to make use of in the event that they needed to observe working the unloaded weapon in preparation for the brigade’s upcoming Knowledgeable Infantry and Knowledgeable Soldier Badge {qualifications}.

Workers responsibility is a 24/7 posting in a unit’s space, and operation of the weapon is a part of the qualification for the 2 Army ability badges. has reached out to Shepler for remark through e mail however didn’t hear again by publication. additionally requested the contact data for the NCO’s authorized counsel from the Army.

Messages reviewed by reveal unit management trying to wrangle the chaos within the aftermath of the loss, asking subordinates not solely to search for the lacking objects, however figuring out Shepler, referring to him as a “particular person of curiosity” and sharing an obvious picture of him in a gaggle chat. The complete brigade was referred to as in to seek for the weapon throughout what was alleged to be a four-day weekend.

“It was actually unlucky {that a} chief within the group made such a poor determination that affected all the brigade proper earlier than a much-deserved 4 day,” one soldier within the brigade informed over textual content, including that the choice to depart the gear out within the first place was a management failure.

“I am all for making gear accessible to troopers to coach, but it surely’s leaders’ duty to make sure weapons are correctly accounted for. … There have been failures all up the chain of command that allowed it to occur.”

Freigo stated that the costs specify that Shepler allegedly “later misplaced the firearm,” referencing the M2 receiver. He was charged with stealing all three objects and charged with the “willful loss” of the .50 cal half, in accordance with his cost sheet.

The receiver incorporates elements that make the .50 cal fireplace and, together with the barrel of the M240, are inert on their very own.

Per week after the objects have been reported lacking, the costs in opposition to Shepler have been filed.

“The costs have been referred to a common court-martial, and Sergeant Shepler was arraigned on November 17, 2022,” Freigo informed

“A trial date has not been set at the moment,” he stated, including that “simply as in civilian prison proceedings, these prices are merely accusations and Sergeant Shepler is presumed harmless till confirmed in any other case past an affordable doubt.”

The M2 receiver ended up in a dumpster, which was routinely transported off submit, and had been moved earlier than the unit may discover it, in accordance with two troopers accustomed to the incident.

The M2 .50 cal receiver has not been recovered, Freigo stated. The opposite objects have been recovered. He inspired people with data on the lacking machine gun half to contact JBLM’s CID workplace.

— Drew F. Lawrence may be reached at Comply with him on Twitter @df_lawrence.

Associated: Army Base Nonetheless Looking for Machine Gun That Went Lacking Days In the past

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