Fort Drum Commander thanks Soldiers, police for stopping military vehicle theft

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Paul Steven Ghiringhelli
Sign welcomes motorists entering Fort Drum at the Iraqi Freedom Gate. To avoid rush-hour delays this summer at this gate, installation officials urge commuters to use the Mount Belvedere Gate, accessible from Watertown by Route 283 or from Interstate 81 by Route 342, or the 45th Infantry Division Gate, roughly two miles south of U.S. Route 11 traveling on Route 26 South.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — More details have been released regarding an attempted theft that occurred on Thursday at the Fort Drum military installation.

According to New York State Police and Fort Drum Public Affairs, on August 19 around 5 a.m., Nathan J. McElhone, from Theresa, approached a unit of Soldiers within training areas on the military base and attempted to steal a vehicle from their security detail. McElhone insinuated to the unit that he was armed.

After approaching and being questioned, McElhone attempted to drive away in one of the unit’s military vehicles, but was stopped by the Soldiers. The Soldier then detained him until personnel from Military Police and Fort Drum Emergency Services arrived at the scene.

One Soldier was reported injured after he made an effort to prevent McElhone from leaving the scene. The Soldier was treated in the field by the unit’s medical personnel.

It was later determined that McElhone was not armed, but had stolen other military property, which included targets and a wood shelving unit. He was handed over to the New York State Police and remains in custody of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

Following the incident, 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Commanding General MG Milford Beagle thanked members of law enforcement and the Soldiers who responded.

“I’d like to thank the New York State Troopers who responded quickly, assisting our emergency services personnel on the scene,” MG Beagle said in a press release. “And I’d also like to recognize the Soldiers of 7th Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team. During a high-stress situation, they used their training and responded quickly and safely to detain the individual. They prevented the theft of Army assets but also prevented a local citizen from being injured, despite his own best efforts.”

The investigation into Nathan J. McElhone’s actions remains ongoing.

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