August 18, 2006

National Guardsmen arrested in New Orleans robbery

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Two members of the Louisiana
National Guard sent in to help fight rising crime in
storm-ravaged New Orleans have been charged with armed robbery,
a National Guard spokesman said on Friday.

Sgt. Caleb Wells and specialist Junious Buchanan confessed
to taking money out of the wallets of two motorists during a
traffic stop on August 12, Lt. Col. Pete Schneider told

The men were charged with armed robbery because they were
carrying weapons but did not use them during the incident,
according to a National Guard statement. The Guard did not say
how much money was allegedly taken.

Wells and Buchanan were part of a force of 300 Guardsmen
sent into New Orleans in June to help local police deal with
rising crime as the city slowly recovers nearly a year after
Hurricane Katrina.

Calling the case "disappointing," Schneider said he hoped
the incident would not detract from the Guard's larger mission.

"These were two soldiers who made the wrong decision,"
Schneider said. "However, it doesn't take away from the fact
that there are 300 guys down here doing a fantastic job,
busting their butts every day to help."