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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Fort Knox, Ky., soldier accused of selling military body armor says he legally bought and sold the ballistic plates online and says he didn't know it was military property.
Staff Sgt. Hunter Perry, 30, faces a court-martial Wednesday and Thursday at the Army installation on two specifications of selling military property and two specifications of larceny of military property.
Perry is accused of selling plates and other military items on numerous occasions, according to information provided by Fort Knox spokesman Patrick Hodges.
He is accused of selling a tactical body vest, small arms protective insert plates and plate carriers while assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, between 2008 and 2009. He is also accused of selling ballistic plates and plate carriers, night vision goggles and personal locator beacons while at Fort Knox in 2010.
Perry doesn't deny selling the plates but said he bought them from other individuals online. He said they had no markings to indicate they were military property.
"Nothing was ever issued to me or taken from any Army inventory, company supply or anything," he said of the body armor.
Perry said he's sold about 10 pairs of plates and at least one tactical vest online over the course of a few years because he said he could make a profit.
"Depending on what kind of item you can find and the price that you could get it for or bargain, talk someone down on, you could make anywhere between $50 to $100, $150 off something," he said.
He said military surplus stores and dealers online sell the same type of body armor that he purchased and resold, so he didn't know why he was the target of an Army criminal investigation.
"I am unclear why they charged just me, and I think it is unfair," he said. "... I think if a person can own a surplus store and buy the same items that I have bought and purchased, then it is discriminating against me. Just because I am in the military and I sell military-like equipment, that doesn't mean that I stole it. It's readily available."
Perry said he's been in the Army for more than 10 years, has never been in trouble before and has deployed multiple times, but the criminal investigation has hurt his career.
"I have been looked over for at least two promotions because of the flag on me," he said.
Hodges said the maximum sentence if convicted under Article 108 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice is dishonorable discharge, up to 10 years of confinement, total forfeiture of pay and a possible fine.