NY Army Nat'l Guardsman arrested
You would think a man in uniform collecting money for a good cause usually means your money is going to the right place, but that wasn't the case with one National Guardsman. Our Erin Vannella explains what happened.
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BETHLEHEM, N.Y. -- Colonie resident Jim Tibbitts answered the door in February to find Robert Conde, 20, of the New York Army National Guard asking for money.
“I asked him if he had any brochures ‘cause I was kind of questioning him and he said ‘uh no, my boss is mad at me ‘cause I kept them back at the office but I do have my badge with me.’ And he showed me his ID and I said, ‘I don't think so,’” said Tibbitts.
Turns out Tibbitts was one of many solicited, but few who didn't contribute to the money trail that led police to arrest Conde on Wednesday.
“This guy was going to be creating gift baskets and sending them overseas to active duty soldiers when in reality he was fraudulently retaining these funds, these donations, depositing that money and using it in his day to day life,” said Lt. Robert Winn, Colonie Police Department.
Police said Conde knocked on doors in Colonie, Bethlehem, Rensselaer and Albany.
“There's numerous victims, well over 10 victims with just checks out of Bethlehem that we've already identified and spoken to...and our hopes are we can get money back for most of these people,” said Detective Adam Hornick, Bethlehem Police Department.
But more than the money, it's pride that's lost on targets like Tibbitts who just want to see the good in people.
“I can understand if he might've been on hard times and he was trying to go around and collect money for himself which is wrong to begin with, but to do it in a military uniform that so many other people are wearing to protect the country, it's just not right to do that,” said Tibbitts.
He could face military action, or non-judicial punishment in addition to charges for felony scheming to defraud and misdemeanors of petit larceny, fraudulent accosting, official misconduct and receiving unlawful gratuities. Conde will appear in Bethlehem Town Court Thursday at 2 p.m.