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January 2019
Tim Bilecki

Airman Steals from Commander, Found Having Drugs, Bilecki Handles Plea Agreement

Larceny, Possession of Controlled Substance
Beale AFB, California
Air Force | Airman 1st Class E-3
Negotiated plea agreement for time served and BCD.

An Airman First Class at Beale Air Force Base, fresh out of confinement from a prior court martial conviction for larceny, found himself in another legal predicament just days prior to completing his Enlisted Term of Service (ETS). In an act of retribution against his former commander, he broke into the commander’s office, stealing a variety of items including PCS awards, flight helmet, paintings, vacuum cleaners, and other memorabilia. The theft was quickly discovered when the Colonel found his office ransacked and items missing, prompting an immediate investigation by the Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

Utilizing CCTV footage outside the building, OSI agents observed the Airman loading the stolen items into his car, making multiple trips, which led them to a storage locker off base. Upon securing a search warrant, law enforcement found not only the stolen military property but also marijuana in the locker. The Airman was taken into custody and confessed to the crimes.

Facing charges of larceny under Article 121, UCMJ, and possession of a controlled substance under Article 112a, UCMJ, at his second general court martial, the Airman enlisted the defense of Tim Bilecki. Bilecki, recognizing the overwhelming evidence and the government’s intent to secure significant confinement due to the personal nature of the stolen items and it being the Airman’s second offense, initiated a rigorous defense strategy.

Challenging the search authorization and leveraging potential suppression issues, Bilecki negotiated a pre-trial plea agreement. The strategic approach and negotiations led to a resolution where the Airman was found not guilty of all charges except for one specification of larceny. Based on the plea agreement, the Airman received a punitive discharge and time served.

This case underscores the importance of a diligent defense strategy in military justice proceedings. Through skillful negotiation and an understanding of the legal system, it’s possible to achieve outcomes that preserve the futures of service members, even in the face of substantial evidence and potential for severe penalties.

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