A man charged Wednesday with stealing 35 cell phones from students at the Alabama National Guard Officer Candidate School at Fort McClellan is a National Guard soldier, according to Weaver police.
In a press release, Weaver police Chief Wayne Bush said two officers stopped Alexander Rodgers, 23, of Eight Mile after midnight Wednesday for a minor traffic violation on Alabama 21. Bush said the officers became suspicious of Rodgers after statements he gave about a large bag in his Chrysler Sebring.
While officers were citing Rodgers for the traffic violation, Weaver police contacted the Officer Candidate School, according to the press release. Rodgers then agreed to a search of his car which uncovered the stolen cell phones in his bag.
The phones were reported stolen Tuesday night by a group training at the Officer Candidate School. Anniston police Sgt. Josh Doggrell said the trainees had to store their personal belongings in a separate facility during the weekend training. That facility was broken into sometime between Friday and Monday, he said.
Doggrell said investigators compiled a list of 12 people who would have had access to the storage facility over the weekend. It is believed Rodgers may have been related to one of the individuals.
Capt. Andrew Richardson at the Alabama National Guard Public Affairs Office in Montgomery said Rodgers was a specialist on order to help out with officer candidate training, but was not part of the group training that weekend. He said he did not know if Rodgers had access to the storage facility where the phones were located.
Richardson said Rodgers could be discharged from the National Guard if he is convicted of a felony, but it was too early to make that decision.
“There are a lot of different possible ways this could go,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
Rodgers was being held at the Calhoun County Jail Thursday morning on a charge of receiving stolen property. No bond or court date had been set.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.