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81-year-old man pleads guilty to felony for using Air Force base tractor without authorization

A gavel sits on display in a military courtroom Jan. 29, 2014, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. (Airman 1st Class William Johnson/U.S. Air Force)
December 18, 2021

Former Oklahoma County Commissioner Earl Rooms has paid $5,400 to resolve a criminal case involving his personal use of a Tinker Air Force Base tractor.

Rooms, 81, of Harrah, pleaded guilty Nov. 30 to a felony and is on probation for two years.

He admitted in his plea to taking the tractor from Tinker Air Force Base on April 2 and using it for his personal needs without consent before returning it.

Rooms, a Republican, held the District 2 seat in Oklahoma County for four years after winning election in 1996. He had access to the base because he worked there in a security capacity. He has since lost that job.

He confessed in April to taking the tractor without permission to plow his leased property, an Air Force investigator reported in a court affidavit.

A base employee put a GPS tracker on the New Holland farm tractor on April 1 because it repeatedly went missing, according to the affidavit.

“The tractor would just randomly show back up and never where it had last been seen,” the base employee told the investigator.

The GPS tracker showed the tractor was moved April 2 to an address in the Shawnee area, according to the affidavit. A Pottawatomie County sheriff’s deputy confirmed it was there.

Rooms showed up and told the deputy he was “only borrowing” it, according to the affidavit.

He was charged in July in Oklahoma County District Court with unauthorized use of an implement of husbandry.

Under a plea deal, he paid a $1,000 judicial “assessment” and $400 in court costs. He also paid $1,000 to a state victims compensation fund and $3,000 in restitution.

The restitution money went to a special court that helps veterans in trouble. The amount was based on what it would have cost to rent the tractor multiple times.

His probation is the type that means he will not have a criminal conviction for the felony offense if he violates no other laws in the next two years.

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(c) 2021 The Oklahoman

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