Nearly Arrested for Stealing Towels

When I was in Puerto Rico, we were involved in an operation that involved 10,000 military deployed to the region. We were stacked four to a room in billeting. Because of the increased number of people, the maids were only replacing our towels twice a week. In that tropical environment, those shower towels smelled pretty rank by the time they got replaced. I had complained about it to the billeting office but, they were adamant about the twice a week frequency.

One day, another Airman and I happened to meet on the walkway leading back to our rooms. He was also deployed from Little Rock Air Force Base’s Supply Squadron. We walked by a maid’s closet with the door left ajar. One of us pushed the door openâÂ?¦notice I am staying vague on exactly who pushed the door open. But, inside we found shelves of towels. Our eyes lit up and we both took a small stack back to our rooms.

I am a reasonably smart guy and dispersed the towels amongst my clothing. I wasn’t stealing themâÂ?¦they were going to stay in the towel inventory in the Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station billeting. But, my cohort in semi-crime was an idiot and just set the entire stack under his bed. Unbeknownst to us, the central warehouse for billeting had been broken into the night before. Among things that had been stolen, some boxes filled with billeting towels had been stolen making us prime suspects.

He and I were both hauled in to the First Sergeants office and asked about what occurred. Not sure what my counterpart said but, I was honest and told ‘the shirt’ why I had taken the towels. I was sent away and told he would get back in touch with me. My accessory to the crime was sent back to Arkansas because he had gotten in trouble for shooting me in the back with a bottle rocket (another story for later) earlier in the year. It was never mentioned again to me and I stayed the full 3 weeks in Puerto Rico.

I found out later that the thing that saved us from criminal charges was the fact the towels that were stolen from the central warehouse had not been stamped with the Roosevelt Roads markings. Our towels were clearly marked as belonging to billeting. That was a little too close for comfort.

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