Lockdown leads to arrest of soldier in theft of Army equipment

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - An Army private has been arrested in connection with the theft of more than $600,000 worth of sensitive military equipment that put an entire infantry company on lockdown last month.

Pvt. Nicholas A. Solt, 22, of Slatington, Pa., has been charged and has been placed in confinement in connection with the recent theft from the 4th Stryker Brigade.

Officials said about $630,000 worth of sensitive items and equipment was stolen, but that 98 percent of it has now been recovered.

I Corps Chief of Staff Colonel Steven Bullimore said the administrative lockdown of the company in the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, proved essential in solving the case.

Solt has been charged with:

Selling optical and targeting equipment of a value more then $500 without proper authority, a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 108

Larceny of military property, of a value of more than $500, a violation of UCMJ Article 121

Unlawfully entering a government building with the intent to commit a criminal offense, a violation of UCMJ Article 130

Wrongfully communicating a threat to kill an individual, a violation of UCMJ Article 134

Violation of a general order wrongfully possessing drugs and drug paraphernalia, a violation of UCMJ Article 92

Wrongfully possessing anabolic steroids, a violation of UCMJ Article 112a

If convicted on all charges, Solt faces 59 years of confinement, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge.

Solt joined the Army in June 2008 and arrived at JBLM in October 2008. He deployed to Iraq from September 2009 to September 2010.

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has recovered 98 percent of the stolen equipment.

Solt's entire 100-member company was placed on administrative lockdown after the theft was discovered during a routine inventory, which triggered widespread complaints by soldiers' families. But officials said the lockdown was crucial to cracking the case.

"CID agents were able to move quickly because of the administrative actions taken and the I Corps Command appreciates their hard work, dedication, and terrific police work," said Bullimore.

Law enforcement agents recovered the equipment in mid-January at residences outside the base.