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A federal grand jury on Wednesday charged three people with the theft of $8,167,750 worth of military hardware from Hill Air Force base in the jet-engine fencing case.

The indictment was issued against two HAFB security policemen - Airman 1st Class Brian David Roth of Ohio and Senior Airman Danny Joe Stroud of Kansas - and Kimberly Stroud, Stroud's wife.Only Roth was charged with all 21 counts, some of which could carry a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine upon conviction. The indictment replaced an information complaint filed Monday against Roth and Danny Joe Stroud.

The charges were the first made public in a sting operation in which the FBI says it has 100 suspects in 15 communities throughout the region. Investigators set up a fake military surplus store in Roy and bought allegedly stolen equipment for more than two years.

U.S. Magistrate Ronald N. Boyce said that if base officials would allow it, Danny Joe Stroud could be confined to Hill pending trial. Kimberly Stroud was released on her own recognizance. Roth was ordered held pending further consideration of bail.

Kimberly Stroud wept silently as she stood before Boyce. She arrived with the couple's 5-month-old baby, who cried during the hearing. The men were handcuffed and shackled.

The defendants pleaded not guilty and were scheduled for trial at 9:30 a.m., Sept. 18, before U.S. District Judge David Sam.

All three were charged with stealing and selling three F-16 jet fighter engines, plus an Air Force flight line tow tractor and three jet engine transportation trailers apparently used to tow the engines to Hill's gate on July 3, where the FBI undercover agents took possession of them. The indictment lists the worth of these items as more than $8 million.

The two men are accused of stealing and selling 16 Zenith computers, worth more than $64,000, on June 13.

When Kimberly Stroud was arraigned, Boyce asked whether she could continue living in Hill's base housing. "We're looking into that," replied Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Lubeck.

The prosecutor did not object to the release of the Strouds but asked FBI Special Agent Donald C. Roberts to testify against Roth's release.

Roberts said he "reviewed audio and video tapes" of conversations between Roth and an FBI undercover agent and that on March 8, 1989, the operative asked Roth what he would do if discovered.

"Mr. Roth stated simply that he would run, he wouldn't go to jail, he would run and not be found," Roberts said.

He added that when officers searched the vehicle in which Roth had gone to his last meeting with agents before he was arrested, they found an unloaded .44 caliber pistol under his seat and a fully loaded magazine in the glove box.

"There were seven firearms found in his home," he said. None of the guns was stolen. *****

(Additional information)

Military booty

A federal grand jury indictment accuses Airman 1st Class Brian David Roth of stealing and selling the following items on:

- Oct. 23, 1987, a kevlar combat helmet worth $100.

- May 6, 1988, chemical protective clothing, cold weather clothing and a kevlar combat helmet, worth $250.

- May 26, 1988, desert camouflage clothing and a backpack, $100.

- June 28, 1988, military clothing and a survival knife, $100.

- July 13, 1988, F-4 jet aircraft aviation instruments, $40,000.

- Oct. 21, 1988, a UHF radio, chemical protection clothing, kevlar fragmentation vests, a gas mask, simulated booby trap and military clothing, $1,000.

- Nov. 10, 1988, military police bulletproof vest, $100.

- Nov. 21, 1988, multi-frequency antennae and a camouflage net, $1,000.

- Nov. 28, 1988, cold weather clothing, $500.

- Dec. 1, 1988, portable radio and accessories, $6,000.

- Dec. 16, 1988, military police hand-held radio, $100. - Dec. 30, 1988, six kevlar fragmentation vests and two bayonets, $500.

- Jan. 7, 1989, desert camouflage clothing and cold weather clothing, $100.

- Feb. 8, 1989, military police hand-held radio, $100.

- Feb. 18, 1989, same description but for some reason listed as worth $1,000.

- March 6, 1989, two night vision devices with accessories, $7,500.

- March 17, 1989, 11 night vision devices with accessories, $40,000.

- March 28, 1989, four military police bulletproof vests, $300.

- May 26, 1989, five air crewman body armor sets, two pilot's helmets, pilot's gear, a zenith computer and accessories, worth $5,000.