Tampa, Florida - A random security check at the main Dale Mabry gate of MacDill Air Force Base ended in the arrest of civilian contractor now accused of illegally obtaining military housing on base and smuggling in a cache of illegal weapons.
Air Force investigators say they found two knives and an empty gun holster while searching the car of 39-year-old Scott Allan Bennett back on April 23rd. They say the army reservist appeared dazed and confused. Tampa Police arrived, arresting Bennett for driving under the influence and from there things only got worse.
Photo Gallery: Security breach at MacDill AFB
According to a complaint filed in US District Court December 16th, after fully searching the car, investigators found a loaded handgun, three additional knives, a box of throwing stars, machete, collapsible baton, sling shot with BB's and mace.
A sign at the front entrance to MacDill clearly states concealed weapons are prohibited. Further investigation by Air Force Police uncovered Bennett was allegedly living on base illegally.
The affidavit indicating Bennett lied to MacDill Housing officials showing up in uniform stating he was on active duty serving as an aide to Admiral Olson at CENTCOM. Admiral Olson is actually with SOCOM, not CENTCOM.
When a housing official e-mailed asking for a copy of Bennett's orders according to the report, he replied, "My orders are TS/SCI [top secret] with CENTCOM so I need approval first for what I can leave on file and disclose."
Investigators say neither Bennett nor the housing employee ever followed up.
Officials later obtained a search warrant for his MacDill apartment finding more weapons including seven loaded firearms, along with over 9000 rounds of ammunition, numerous knives, brass knuckles and an electric stun gun.
Bennett now faces federal charges of making false statements and violating base security rules.
MacDill Air Force Base issued this statement:
"In April 2010, Scott Allan Bennett, a MacDill Air Force Base contractor, was apprehended by base security forces during a random base entry vehicle check. The security forces members followed established procedures and discovered legal weapons in his vehicle, but the weapons were not properly registered with the 6th Security Forces Squadron. Upon further investigation, Mr. Bennett, a military Reservist, falsely presented himself on active duty status to gain residence on the installation. Once his status was verified, his eligibility for base housing was revoked. MacDill stands ready to assist local authorities."
An attorney representing Bennett said his client would not be commenting on the case at this time. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for as early as next week.
Beau Zimmer, 10 News