A Border Guard
officer serving as a drill sergeant in a training base in Ma'ale Mikhmas is suspected of stealing mobile phones and cash from his recruits.
The officer was arrested by the police's Internal Affairs Unit
after one of the phones that were allegedly stolen was found in the possession of another Border Guard officer who claimed the drill sergeant sold him the phone.
About two months ago, recruits at the Ma'ale Mikhmas training base filed complaints to the police that money and phones have been taken from their private rucksacks.
According to the recruits, the thefts occurred while they were out in the field during a two-day exercise. The trainees further complained that as a result of the alleged thefts
their commanders forced them to hold a 'line-up of shame' in which they were commanded to empty the content's of their bags.
The commanders even went as far as conducting interrogations, questioning the recruits supposedly in a bid to find the crook, however, no one was found.
In light of the fact that similar thefts had occurred in the past, the commanders assumed that the thief was someone with unfettered access to the base – which is barred to civilians.
Officers from Jerusalem police's Internal Affair Unit began an undercover investigation during which they discovered that one of the stolen phones was currently being used by another Border Guard officer who was serving as a commander at the Beit Horon
The officer from Beit Horon was questioned under advisement and professed his innocence, claiming he did not steal the phone but rather purchased it for NIS 600 from another officer serving at the Ma'ale Mikhmas base. He then assisted the police in reaching the officer who sold him the phone and it turned out that the he was none other than the drill sergeant whose recruits had first complained about the thefts.
The drill sergeant was then arrested and taken into interrogation, where he eventually admitted to stealing two iPhones and hundreds of shekels in cash while rummaging through his recruits' rucksacks. He claimed to have given the second phone to a relative.
Shalom Amar, head of the Jerusalem District Police Internal Affairs Unit, confirmed the officer was arrested on suspicion of theft and noted that the he was released after his interrogation and suspended from the police for 15 days.
The Border Patrol's spokesperson said in response that "the Border Patrol views the incident with the utmost severity and condemns any behavior by its officers which go against the values the force is meant to preserve. It is important to note that the event is unrepresentative… and if the allegations will be proved accurate, then the officer will be dismissed effective immediately from the force."
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