Soldier also stole gun given to chief of staff as souvenir from a US general.
By YAAKOV KATZPublished: AUGUST 16, 2009 01:13Advertisement
A necklace with English initials was the clue that led Military Police investigators to the soldier remanded last week for stealing three IDF weapons and selling them to Arab criminals, as well as obtaining the credit card number of a senior IDF general.
The senior officer, named on Sunday after pressure from media outlets, was revealed to be no less than IDF soldier No. 1: Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.
According to details of the investigation revealed over the weekend, the soldier - who worked as a security guard in the Kirya military headquarters - succeeded in gaining access to Ashkenazi's office in the IDF compound, from which he stole the top general's credit card number as well as a gun on display that Ashkenazi had received as a gift.
The soldier was behind two other thefts of M-16 rifles from the base. One was stolen from an office in April and the other from a soldier who was attacked while on guard duty in mid-July.
Military Police launched an investigation following the April theft and the soldier was considered a possible suspect. It wasn't until the July theft, when the suspect dropped his necklace at the scene of the attack, that the police confirmed his identity.
The soldier involved in the thefts attacked the guard together with his brother, who is a minor. Both were arrested and confessed to stealing the weapons and selling them to Israeli Arab criminals from the North.
During the investigation, the MP also discovered a photograph of the top officer's credit card on the suspect's cellular phone.
During questioning, the suspect confessed to photographing the credit card and passing it on to the criminals, to whom he was in debt. The criminals apparently were not aware that the credit card belonged to Ashkenazi, since the suspect said he told them that it was his father's and that they should use it for the amount that he owed them.
Some NIS 2,000 was charged to the card.
The Military Police are continuing to investigate the nature of the relationship between the soldier, who apparently had a criminal record, and the criminals to whom he sold the weapons.
In addition, the IDF's General Staff security unit has also launched an internal investigation to determine how the soldier gained access to Ashkenazi's highly secured office.
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