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Soldier suspected in auto break-ins
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A Fort Stewart soldier who reportedly issued phony citations from a stolen Hinesville Police Department citation book now may face charges of his own.

Russell Rockwood, with 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade, is suspected in a string of June 10 automobile break-ins that occurred in the 1000 block of Hinesville’s Forest Lake Drive, according to HPD reports.

Four reports indicate that four vehicles were entered overnight and $1,330 worth of items including an iPad, GPS and cash were reported missing.

Det. Sgt. Tracey Howard said Wednesday the case against Rockwood is pending and that some of the items have been returned through a third party. Police are investigating whether the suspect acted alone.

According to police reports, Rockwood was attending a party on Forest Lake Drive and reportedly brought the citation book into the party, told people he was a military police officer and began writing tickets.

A party host, Stephanie Johnson, recognized the citation book and took it from the “extremely drunk” Rockwood, the report said.

Howard said Rockwood is not assigned to a  Military Police unit, but that he does not anticipate Rockwood would face charges of impersonating a police officer because the phony citations were issued in jest.

“It is what it is — obviously, the guy got drunk and did some stupid things … Whether he commonly breaks into cars is not something I know,” Howard said. “But this is not a reflection of any type of behavior associated with Fort Stewart or the United States Army.”

Johnson determined that the citation book belonged to their neighbor, HPD Cpl. Leslie Patton Jr.

During the party, police responded to a complaint about underage drinking and suspicious activities where people appeared to be looking inside cars.

Another male, Gustavo Guerra, was arrested when police responded to that call, the report said.

The next afternoon, Johnson took the citation pad back to Patton, who said the pad was last left in his locked police cruiser in front of his home June 9.

When Patton checked the car June 10, the driver’s door was unlocked. He also reported that someone took a $150 Garmin GPS from his son’s sedan.

While responding Officer Dennis Poulsen was on the scene, party host Derek Jackson approached him with information from the sergeant to whom both he and Rockwood report.

The sergeant reportedly contacted Rockwood at his barracks and recovered the iPad.

The party hosts, who participated in the investigation, will not face charges related to the underage drinking complaint because there is no evidence to suggest that they served the underage attendees or knew that they were underage, Howard said.

A 3rd ID spokesman did not return calls for comment by press time.

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