View Full Version : Robbery outside Home Depot

August 15, 2009, 12:57 PM
I went over to Home Depot today, to rent a carpet cleaner. While in the Tool Rental area, I overheard another customer talking with the desk clerk about a robbery that went down the previous week at their location.

Apparently, some Army guys from Fort Bragg had gone there to rent a ladder. They were putting the ladder on the roof of their government van when they saw a guy coming at them from the treeline across the parking lot section outside Tool Rental. The guy pulled a gun on them and robbed them.

So, this turned into a discussion of how the military's policy of not allowing personal weapons to be carried on base has inadvertently flagged military personnel who are obviously going to or coming from bases as ideal robbery targets. Odds are extremely high that they are unarmed, or that any weapons will be secured in locked cases in cargo compartments.

How backwards is it when the safest victims are military people? Just a pet peeve of mine...

Of course, I'd just love to see somebody try this with MP's, CID, or NCIS types by mistake. There are at least some exceptions, luckily.

August 15, 2009, 01:06 PM
That was one thing I didn't like or understand when I was in the Air Force. We are military, but we weren't allowed to have weapons. You could keep your stuff at the base armory, but good luck not having your stuff messed with.

Brian Pfleuger
August 15, 2009, 01:09 PM
I always thought they would be carrying standard issue sidearms if they're on duty. (I assume they were on duty being that they were driving a govt van?)

August 15, 2009, 01:14 PM
and forces forward will carry weapons.

In US or European bases, though, weapons are only taken off base if transiting between bases (for instance, range practice when the range is on a different complex).

Just going out in town on errands or lunch, no. Going to or from home, no. (MP's draw weapons at beginning of shift, and turn them in at end of shift).

In my reserve unit, we had a couple of guys whose civilian jobs were LEO. They did not carry while doing military things on base, but they could carry on base if in the performance of their civilian LEO jobs. How weird is that?

August 15, 2009, 01:14 PM
Might not make sense but...

Hey wait...if a store has a policy against a person carrying firearms everyone gets feathers ruffled and has the "boycott the store" mentality. So do these same folks now boycott the US military for their "anti-gun" regulations? :p

Brian Pfleuger
August 15, 2009, 01:30 PM
How weird is that?

In my 2 1/2 years of federal government employment I found such things to be more expected than "weird" under the bureaucratic rulers. Sadly.

August 15, 2009, 03:43 PM
I've noticed that *stupid* bureaucratic rules that would never survive if anybody with the authority to change things ever wasted a thought on them are common when you work for the government, or for many large quasi-public companies such as regulated utilities. Earlier in my life I worked for the (local) government for one year and a large utility company for 3 years. The old adage, "There's no reason; it's just our policy" applied equally both places.

Tucker 1371
August 15, 2009, 03:48 PM
Wow... never knew this was the policy. What BS. Even if you have a CHL from the state I am stationed in you cannot CCW when in the military? The only angle I can see this making evan a shred of sense from is that law that prevents the military from engaging in civilian law enforcement.

August 15, 2009, 04:46 PM
The same thing happened to one of my buddies while he was stationed in Alaska around 2000-2002ish if I recall. He was a Ranger, off base, and was robbed at gun point. All he asked for back was his military ID and he didn't even get that.

August 15, 2009, 09:22 PM
that has been the policy since WW2.I was in navalair and carried.(privatly).I kept my gun in my locker.I was on a seaplane base.I got a colt 1905 38acp and carried that and a New service 45 colt.not at same time.jumpers were great for concealment.it was a diferent time and culture.guess its time to take it back.:rolleyes:

Dr Raoul Duke
August 16, 2009, 10:27 AM
In the Navy in Vietnam the brass did not want any of us taking the weapons off base. We were only allowed to carry a 1911A1 off the boat when we we carrying out official duty. Like many, I found that intolerable. Fortunately there was a pretty lively black market, and a good used 1911A1 was pretty inexpensive. It was either that, or rely on carrying a KABAR under one's shirt. This is in a war zone, where almost anyone could step up and try to "grease" an American. Crazy rules for a crazy time. It doesn't sound like the military has gotten any smarter.

Dr. Raoul Duke
Gonzo Forever

chris in va
August 16, 2009, 11:27 AM
Even if you have a CHL from the state I am stationed in you cannot CCW when in the military?

You can, if you go get your gun from the armory every single time you leave the base.

August 16, 2009, 11:29 AM
... you'd have to store it, unloaded, in your cargo compartment. So, you'd have to stop outside the gate somewhere, to retrieve and load the weapon. Not ideal, by any means.

August 16, 2009, 05:55 PM
Hey wait...if a store has a policy against a person carrying firearms everyone gets feathers ruffled and has the "boycott the store" mentality. So do these same folks now boycott the US military for their "anti-gun" regulations? :p

Actually, not a bad thought at all! Unless you're thrilled with the idea to catch a bullet in some forsaken land, following policy that makes no sense.

I personally am way past the desire to save the world. Are you? ;)

August 16, 2009, 11:43 PM
In Alaska, civilians aren't required to have a concealed carry permit to carry a weapon concealed. However, Soldiers aren't allowed to carry any weapons concealed on or off post. Also, all soldiers in Alaska are supposed to register all there weapons and keep them in the barracks arms room.

It doesn't make any sense to me.

August 16, 2009, 11:50 PM
Military personnel stationed in a state are treated as state residents for all legal purposes except income tax, which is paid to the state of home of record. Maybe the base in your area has some rules about it, but it shouldn't be the state of Alaska's rules.

August 16, 2009, 11:54 PM
In Alaska you can carry concealed without a permit unless you're a soldier. Soldiers aren't allowed to carry any weapons concealed on or off post. Also, all soldiers in Alaska have to register there weapons and keep them in the barracks arms room.

I haven't seen a directive indicating such... Maybe it's just in your base commander's standing orders? Maybe it differs between the various branches, but there are no restirctions for military personnel carrying off-base here. Anytime while on-base, you are subject to the base commander's standing orders, base policy, and the articles set forth in the UCMJ. The state of Alaska has never issued any restrictions for military personnel carrying while out of uniform, off-base, and off-duty.

We are "allowed" to keep personally owned weapons in our base housing residences, they must be kept seperate from ammunition/mags while transporting between gate and house.

And yes, I find it incredibly retarded that I am trusted to carry a weapon and enforce U.S. laws and regulations everywhere from our shoreline to the territorial seas of other nations, but I can't leave my CCW in it's holster until I get to my house on base. I have to pull over, download, and store my weapon and mag seperately before I can legally enter the base.

August 17, 2009, 12:04 AM
“Carrying concealed deadly weapons by USARAK Soldiers represents a significant risk to the safety and welfare of this command. Accordingly, all Soldiers assigned or attached to USARAK are prohibited from carrying a concealed deadly weapon in public places off of all USARAK posts. All persons are prohibited from carrying concealed deadly weapons on USARAK posts IAW [in accordance with] USARAK Regulation 190-1.”


a. I understand that all military personnel assigned to USARAK/USAG-AK who reside on-post (family quarters, BEQ, BOQ, Soldier
Barracks/Billets) must immediately register all privately owned weapons (firearms) with the Provost Marshal Office on the post where they are
b. As a part of the registration process, I understand that I am responsible for providing the pink and yellow copies of the USARAK Form
877 (Weapons Registration Form) to my unit commander for signature and file in the unit arms room.
c. I understand that if I live off-post but bring a POW onto to the main cantonment or main post, as determined by my entry through a
manned access control point (any entrance gate to the installation), to participate in authorized activities (hunting, trapping, hiking, camping
personal protection, skeet/trap) I must immediately register that firearm at the Visitor Control Center (Main Gate).
d. I understand that I am responsible for de-registering all POWs entered into the Provost Marshal data base in my name whenever a
change of ownership occurs.
e. I understand that while being transported in vehicles, weapons will be unloaded and cased (hard or soft case) and that I may not store
any firearm in my vehicle (short term storage is authorized during intermittent stops between authorized use areas only).
f. I understand that although Alaska State Law permits the carrying of firearms concealed, this law is NOT valid on any USARAK or Air
Force Installations. I further understand the USARAK Commanding General has published a more restrictive policy on concealed weapons
carried by Soldiers during any off-post activity. I have been provided with a copy of this policy by my commander.
g. I understand that if I am assigned a room in Soldier billets, I must store my POW in the unit arms room and I will obtain written approval
from my commander before removing my POW from the arms room. I also understand that if I live in government quarters I will receive my
commander's approval before storing my POW in my quarters (on-post family quarters, BOQ/BEQ).
h. I am aware the Military Police Desk has a safe available 24/7 for the temporary storage of any POW when other authorized storage
locations are unavailable to me.
I verify that a review of the above individual's files was conducted and revealed no convictions for domestic violence. The
individual is authorized to possess or have access to weapons and ammunition.


I guess if you live off post you don't have to keep your weapons in the arms room.

August 17, 2009, 12:11 AM
Well, that really does stink for you guys...

Just one more reason why the Coast Guard is better... :D;):D

August 17, 2009, 12:33 AM
I have to wonder if it's not a knee-jerk reaction to current suicide rates. I suspect that's exactly what it is.

August 17, 2009, 12:46 AM
I should mention that barracks residents must store their personal weapons at the MILPOL armory (accessable 24/7). Either that, or store them at your unit's armory (if so equipped, with unit command approval, and space is available).

EDIT: I should also mention that what restrictions our base commander places on his personnel, I am only subject to his policies while I am actually on base, he cannot prevent me from carrying while off-base. That would be a command decision, enacted by my own unit, which is completely seperate and is in no way suboordinate to the base.

August 17, 2009, 12:50 AM
The base commander decides what policy he wants to enact on his base. Seems like most of them want disarmed soldiers.

August 17, 2009, 01:01 AM
A good friend of mine that was a police officer that I worked with had just got back from Iraq. He had like 10 yrs in the Army and then went into the guard when he got activated the last time. He did a year and a half in Iraq and had been back 2 weeks. He went back for his weekend warrior training and left the base that night to go eat. He went to the ATM to get money and got shot 2 times. Died a week later from a blood clot. He was the 3rd person they had shot that night. The other 2 also died. None of the 3 had been robbed. Just shot and left there. Before he died, he was doing good while he was in the hospital In stable condition and I went to visit him. I asked him if he was armed, because I knew he never went anywhere off duty without being armed and he said he didn't have a weapon because he was leaving base. He couldn't bring his weapon on base with him while he was there for training so he would leave it at home since he didn't have anywhere else to keep it. He said he was aware of his surrounding and saw them coming and knew something was about to go down, he just didn't have anywhere to go or anything to defend himself with.

August 17, 2009, 12:40 PM
I have a hard time understanding the scope of a standing order that would impact or control a soldier's actions while off duty, off base. Besides which, it is impossible to enforce.

How exactly does a base commander's standing order overrule state law when one is acting as a private citizen? (i understand that soldiers would obey the CO's order, but what is the legal authority for such an order?) And the preamble to that piece states as an uncontravertible fact that having soldiers carrying a concealed deadly weapon (could this be any broader? how about a nail file?) is a significant risk to the safety and welfare of the (this) command. Suppose the CO had a dislike for Sorel boots - could he forbid his soldiers from wearing them anywhere on or off base?

It is hard for me to even guess at the thinking that went into that policy. You could argue that carrying a concealed or open weapon, as protection against rape, robbery, etc is a proper action to preserve their lives, and in the process preserve the accumulated value of a soldier's training.

Is this commonplace elsewhere? Is it purely the whim of a specific base commander, or is this actual widespread US Military policy?

August 18, 2009, 11:18 AM
Just like the recruitment soldiers in Little Rock that were gunned down by the Islamic terrorist recently.
Why are our soldiers unarmed??

Brian Pfleuger
August 18, 2009, 11:20 AM
Why are our soldiers unarmed??

Now there's a point we can agree on!

Pretty stupid isn't it? You can go to war and die for your country when you're 18, you can come home after seeing your friends die for your country.... but you can't have a beer when you get back and we can't trust you to be armed no matter how old you are....

August 18, 2009, 11:37 AM
Well, it's the Federal government. Unless they're planning to fight a battle at the Home Depot, how does the Federal government benefit from having soldiers armed there? They might get robbed every once in a while, but that doesn't affect the guys in Washington. Get real.

August 18, 2009, 03:34 PM
'Fragging' happens in the military. During the Vietnam era I was in the USAF. I had my hunting rifle and a handgun in my locker. One day I got back from my duty station. Lockers in each room in the barracks were open and any firearms were on the bunk, with a note to store the firearm and the base security police building. No penalties, no problem retreiving the firearms 24/7. I was on the base rifle team and kept ammo for that in my locker without any problems, just personal ammo was barred. Figure that.

It might have been inconvenient to wait until off base to load and holster a CCW handgun, but it was doable. With the tight security on base, what's to fear while on base ?

Rich Miranda
August 18, 2009, 04:05 PM
I drive a motorcoach (charter/tour bus) and I transport soldiers to and from Camp Bullis for training every so often. All of the soldiers carry their weapons (which is really cool because I get to see the SAWs and so forth) but no ammo is permitted, with the exception of exactly one magazine of 'security ammo' which is not permitted to be loaded into the weapon unless needed.

As soon as we arrive at the destination, a higher-ranking soldier (I don't know ranks) comes into the bus and takes back the ammo.

Of course, if anyone tried to anything, the sight of 40 M4s and M249s might be enough to scare them off, even without ammo. :D

August 18, 2009, 04:41 PM
Let the stupid ol' redneck opine on this a bit...
Anytime the armed forces are used in the states it brings all kinds of strife on them as "the armed forces shouldn't be against the citizenry..." Like in Alabama when we had the mass shootings near me and the sheriff asked Ft.Rucker for help. It was actually posted here on TFL. So soldiers leaving base armed to go buy ply wood at Homer's Depot would result in a jillion cell phone vids on you-tube and the mass lib media outlets worse than a couple open carrying folks in NH...

Lee Lapin
August 18, 2009, 05:40 PM

That's because during Reconstruction after the Late War, troops WERE used to control the citizenry in the defeated South. That resulted in something called the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.

Of course, in recent years, things have changed... http://www.homelandsecurity.org/journal/articles/Trebilcock.htm .

And if you spent any time at all around most servicemembers, you'd be terrified at the thought of them carrying loaded weapons in public. The troops scare their own command structure so bad, they barely tolerate it even in combat zones. Trainer John Farnam rants about the level of firearms training our servicemembers get a lot- see http://www.sofmag.com/news/permalink1/2006/7/16/12063929635.html , http://www.defense-training.com/quips/2004/04Sept04.html , http://www.defense-training.com/quips/2004/22Jan04.html etc.

On a more specific note, I was across the street from that Home Despot yesterday. It isn't in what you might call the best part of town, if it's the one on Skibo in Fayetteville. The wooded area is within just a few yards of the parking area and there is no visible barrier on the property line- no chainlink fence, etc. There are housing areas nearby. Definitely some vulnerabilities there for unarmed folk...



August 18, 2009, 05:47 PM
I realize we entrust service folks during combat with a different level of trust than peace time. But the fact remains that even if they were all 100% crack shots of the safest nature and guaranteed to not use their arms for anything that a citizen were not authorized... the populace would still feel they were in a police state type setting. I do, however, feel that service persons should be able to have a CCW on them whenever they wish as a LEO may.

August 18, 2009, 06:05 PM

With the tight security on base, what's to fear while on base ?

It is pretty rare but people have been known to kill people even on secure facilities. Happened last year (maybe the year before) at NASA JSC. They have armed guards at the gates and patrolling the grounds, they do random car searches coming and going and allow no weapons (except for security personnel, and a couple of other exceptions) on the center. All employees have extensive background checks. This did not stop a man from coming on the center with a personal weapon and killing, IIRC, two people. I have been on a few facilities with 100% search on entering and leaving, with lots of security, on those I feel pretty safe, on your typical federal facility you are lots safer than the bad part of town, but bad things can still happen.

Lee Lapin
August 18, 2009, 07:21 PM
...service persons should be able to have a CCW on them whenever they wish as a LEO may.

In a lot of places, even LEOs can't carry outside their own jurisdiction... the average citizen these days actually has more leeway with a concealed carry permit that's recognized in a lot of states.

I believe in the Lott Theory (More Guns, Less Crime - http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/493636.html ) as much as anyone, but unfortunately I don't get to make the rules...


August 18, 2009, 09:31 PM
... if you were across the street, then you were probably at BW3, or maybe PetSmart or Dick's Sporting Goods.

I can't see you coming to town and going to Food Lion, or Michael's...

But yes, it's that Home Depot, and no, it isn't a great neighborhood.

As far as HogDogs argument, people might react badly to overtly armed troops, but how would they know if troops were carrying concealed?

If a soldier, marine, airman, or sailor qualifies for a CCW, why should he be more restricted than any other citizen?

Just my take on things.

BTW, the answer to the large percentage of troops who aren't necessarily proficient or skilled in firearms law is not less weapons, but more training, IMO.



Lee Lapin
August 19, 2009, 11:21 AM
One of the happiest days of my life was seeing Ft. Bragg in my rearview mirror for the first time as a newly retired uncivil serpent 8^). And I only come to Fayettenam any more to see my doctors. In this case I went home by way of PetSmart to get some woofer food.

Everyone has to go 'by the rulz' when going on post. I have a NC CCH, and can't carry on post- not that I have any reason to go back on post, since they issued my last ID with an indefinite expiration date. And since the DoD parking stickers on both vehicles are good till 2011, it'll be at least that long before I have reason to go back.

I know servicemembers with CCHs too- they can't carry on post. Why is that so? Because Uncle Scam wants it that way, and so it is. It isn't the way it ought to be, but that's the way the nanny-statists want it.

I remember that old "two armies" quote from Larteguy that a bunch of the old time SF NCOs used to have framed on their office walls or their desks...

I'd like to have two armies: One for display with lovely guns, tanks, little soldiers, staffs, distinguished and doddering generals, and dear little regimental officers who would be deeply concerned over their colonel's piles, an Army that would be shown for a modest fee on every fairground in the country. The other would be the real one, composed entirely of young enthusiasts in camouflaged uniforms, who would not be put on display but from whom impossible efforts would be demanded and to whom all sorts of tricks would be taught. That's the Army in which I should like to fight.

One of my old friends, then a captain (most likely the oldest DOR captain in the US Army, too) had PT tee shirts printed up (back before there were official PT uniforms) that said: "If we could shoot, we wouldn't have to run." See why Uncle Mikee was a captain for so long? 8^)

That's always reflected my attitude too...



August 19, 2009, 06:56 PM
How exactly does a base commander's standing order overrule state law when one is acting as a private citizen? (i understand that soldiers would obey the CO's order, but what is the legal authority for such an order?) And the preamble to that piece states as an uncontravertible fact that having soldiers carrying a concealed deadly weapon (could this be any broader? how about a nail file?) is a significant risk to the safety and welfare of the (this) command. Suppose the CO had a dislike for Sorel boots - could he forbid his soldiers from wearing them anywhere on or off base?
(Emphasis added by me)

Because all military members are subject to the articles set forth in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) while on or off duty. From the day you swear in to the day you are discharged or retire, the UCMJ applies everywhere, local, state, and federal laws aside. Servicemembers may be charged with local/state/federal charges and still face judicial proceedings as applicable to the UCMJ.

The fine print's a real b***h...

EDIT: Why are our servicemen/women unarmed when out in public? B/c if we were constantly armed while in uniform, it would set the environment of marshall law. It may not be in effect, but I think the visual display of weapons would entice severe outrage amongst many citizens. Personally, it wouldn't bother me a bit, but everybody ain't like me.

August 19, 2009, 08:31 PM
I can understand why ANY chain of command wouldn't want a base full of young soldiers carrying weapons. Young soldiers get into enough stupid stuff without the help of weapons.

Personally, when I was living in the barracks, I didn't like the idea of keeping my weapons in the unit arms room. I didn't like the thought of Pvt. Joe Snuffy messing with my gear. I just kept my stuff at the house of a trusted squad leader. It was a lot easier to get my weapons from them then from the unit arms room. Once I moved off post and got my CCW, I just locked and cleared my pistol before entering base. A hassle? Yes. But easy enough to get around post regs regarding concealed carry.

August 22, 2009, 08:40 AM
As a former grunt who served at Ft Wainwright in the early 80s, I recall a gunfight between a bunch of drunk troopers in Alpha and Bravo Companies, 1/327th. These loons got liquored up one night and starting blasting rounds back and forth between the buildings. A handful of folks got busted - don't recall exactly what happened to them.

While probably not the reason for the restrictive policies on base in Alaska, it has to figure in the institutional memory. There were policies preventing POWs in the barracks before this incident, but things became much more restrictive afterwards.

As SoupieXX75 says, there's a lot to be said to restricting access to dangerous things to a bunch of young soldiers with no supervision. Whether that be guns, booze, fast motorcycles without helmets, etc.

For every "i can't believe somebody wrote a policy on that" regulation that you don't like, some moron was awarded the darwin award. I recall a guy in an aviation unit at Wainright had cut down a small pine tree as a Christmas tree. The resulting "regulation" was "No Christmas Trees", although that was later revised to "No open flame". He had put a bunch of candles on the tree and lit them and then passed out and the thing caught fire. Go figure.

N.H. Yankee
August 24, 2009, 06:03 PM
Well thats a switch, usually the ROBBERY is at the CHECKOUT!!!!!

Having retired from the Air Force ( lucky me ) I also could never figure out the unarmed soldier on base. I have heard of shootings on base, one in particular, a civilians enlisted wife's cheating with an airman, civilian goes to the dorm the airman lives at with a gun from his offbase home, confronts airman in parking lot, and BANG! The airman never had a chance, had he been armed when confronted he may have had a chance when things escalated. The airman shouldn't have been messing with the guy's wife, but he didn't deserve a death sentence either.

The Air Force feels that if you live on base, the SP's will protect you. Problem is on some bases, the SP's aren't supposed to shoot until shot at! Local commanders and wing also can play a role in firearm usage/storage. A female NCO was murdered within sight of the gate at March AFB years ago and the SP's at the gate could not shoot at the gangbangers, because it was outside the main gate!! I never understood why military personnel can have machineguns, grenades, etc while training or in a combat zone and be trusted then, but not allowed a personnal firearm on base. I guess the powers to be think your less likely to go ward 8 in a stressful warzone, than peacefully stateside on base.

I was fortunate enough ( or not ) to have written permission from command to carry concealed on base due to certain circumstances. I also had to have a copy of the letter on my person, the CC had a copy, SC had a copy, and the gate guardhouse had a copy. I always felt military members should have the right to protect themselves, especially on an open base. Not sure if there are any open bases left since 9/11.

August 24, 2009, 06:19 PM
Why are our soldiers unarmed??

John Farnum has addressed the matter on a number of occasions. We have a gun paranoid military structure. An accident involving a weapon could be a career ender for a commander, which makes them paranoid, also.

Even non combat soldiers are taught how to use firearms, of course, in all military occupational specities. However, they ARE NOT taught how to actually carry and live with weapons.

At least for some troops, prior to shipping off to a war zone, the range qualification with the M16 is 40 rds, and troops don't even load their own magazines.