Con Man Fooled Soldiers, Lived in Army Barracks for Months
He even assigned rooms and conducted inspections
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2016 3:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – The Fayetteville Observer has a crazy look at how a 20-year-old con man successfully lived in the barracks at Fort Bragg for months despite never having served in the military. His ruse was apparently so successful he even started assigning rooms to new soldiers and conducting room inspections. The information comes from a lengthy Army report—which doesn't identify the suspect—obtained via FOIA request by the Observer, which believes the suspect is Triston Chase. The jig was up for the suspect, who was knowledgeable enough about the military to fool numerous soldiers, when he was stopped on suspicion of DUI last December on Fort Bragg and found in possession of numerous identification cards. An investigation into his true identify ended in his arrest on suspicion of criminal trespassing a few days later.

The report found the suspect got a room key for the barracks from a soldier who felt bad for him because he was homeless. He then posed as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist with the 3rd Special Forces Group. When he was confronted by an officer immediately before his arrest, he was standing with other soldiers and claimed a "supervisor told me to get these guys straight." The report also sheds light on what one soldier calls "horrible" conditions at the barracks. The security system outside the barracks was broken, and the barracks manager wasn't properly keeping track of room keys—26 of which were missing. "Security is nonexistent," the soldier says. "There literally is none at all." Chase, the possible suspect, has six felony charges—including identity theft and stealing firearms—from 2014, and he racked up more charges related to this alleged incident. Read the full story here.