A District man who was able to check out dozens of military rifles and pistols from Fort Meade by impersonating an Air Force officer has pleaded guilty to a federal charge, the U.S. attorney's office in Harrisburg, Pa., said yesterday.
Jeffrey A. Klotz, 35, pleaded guilty to making a false official statement Wednesday in U.S. District Court. He faces up to five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
Dressed as an Air Force major, Klotz checked out 30 M-16 rifles, 10 M-9 pistols and two Chevrolet Blazers from an Army Reserve depot at Fort Meade in July. Then, accompanied by a service member, he drove to Fort Indiantown Gap, a military installation in central Pennsylvania, where he withdrew 12,000 rounds of ammunition.
Klotz used the weaponry to teach riflery to 109 Civil Air Patrol cadets, ages 12 to 18.
Investigations into how Klotz was able to acquire the weapons are still being conducted by the U.S. Army Reserve and other military agencies, officials said. Klotz checked out weaponry and ammunition several times over a period of years and apparently had no intention of using the weapons for anything other than training the cadets, officials said.
"You'd expect somebody who went to the lengths he did to have a more nefarious purpose," David Barasch, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, said yesterday. All the weapons have been recovered, officials said.
Barasch said the single charge of making a false official statement fits the nature of the crime. "He never converted the weapons to his own personal use," Barasch said. Klotz also had regular access to Andrews Air Force Base, according to personnel at the installation.
Klotz was never a military officer, records show. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1985 but was discharged a month later because of a bad knee.
Military officials remain concerned about the ease with which Klotz was able to check out weapons from a U.S. Army Reserve military police unit at Fort Meade.
Reached at his home in Northwest Washington yesterday, Klotz said, "I'm not allowed to discuss it at this time."