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Central NY man stole U.S. military equipment, sold it on Facebook, including vest headed to Russia, troopers say

Facebook (Dreamstime/TNS)

Three people have been charged with stealing equipment from three Central New York military bases and selling it on Facebook marketplace, troopers said Monday.

The equipment was shipped to at least five states, troopers said. One ballistic vest was being reshipped to Russia, they said.

The investigation began after an account advertised the stolen equipment in a post on Facebook Marketplace last month, according to Trooper Jack Keller, a spokesperson for the State Police. The gear was not available to the general public, and some of it was sensitive in nature, he said.

Investigators determined the account was created by James Waleski, of Jamesville, according to Keller. He is a civilian working for the U.S. Defense Department at the 174th Air National Guard Attack Wing, which is based on the military side of Syracuse Hancock, International Airport.

Waleski, 50, worked as a general supply specialist at the air base, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also appears to have served for nearly three decades in the U.S. Army, including as a brigade supply sergeant, according to the profile. A military photo from 2008 shows Waleski helping hold the American flag at the top of a mountain near a military training center in Afghanistan.

Two other people were charged as part of the investigation into the stolen equipment. They were identified as Gordon Reynolds, a military police officer; and Joriann Garcia-Hernandez, a unit supply specialist.

Troopers recovered thousands of dollars of military equipment shipped to buyers in New York, Texas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida, Keller said. They also got back a ballistic vest that was being reshipped to Russia.

Tens of thousands of dollars in additional gear was found at Waleski’s home, Keller said.

The equipment was stolen from the 174th wing and Army National Guard 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, both based in Syracuse, as well as the 272nd Army Military Police Detachment in Auburn.

Waleski was charged with second-degree grand larceny and unlawful sale of body armor, as well as 11 counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

He is being held in the Onondaga County Justice Center jail, records show. His bail was set at $20,000 cash or $100,000 bond.

Reynolds, 44, was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. He is being held in the Madison County jail, records show.

Garcia-Hernandez, 38, of Rome, was charged with petit larceny, a misdemeanor.

During a search, an assault weapon was found in Waleski’s home, Keller said. It was not stolen from the military bases.

Waleski’s wife, Jennifer Waleski, 40, was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a weapon (assault weapon). She appears to have been released from the county jail.

Troopers ask anyone with information about the stolen equipment, or those who may have purchased it from Waleski, to call Investigator Carl Schneider at 315-366-6000.


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