Military impersonator landed helicopter at base to impress woman, agent says | 2/12/2018 | Staff
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RALEIGH, N.C. -- A man pretending to be a three-star U.S. Army general wanted to impress a woman when he unexpectedly landed a helicopter at the headquarters of a North Carolina technology company last year, a federal agent testified Monday. Details about the strange case of Christian Desgroux emerged at a hearing before a federal magistrate, who ordered that the defendant remain in jail pending his upcoming arraignment.

The 57-year-old is charged with pretending to be a military officer, which carries a maximum of three years in prison. CBS affiliate WNCN-TV reports Desgroux also faces a $250,000 fine and a term of supervised release following his potential prison time.

Nov - Helicopter - Desgroux - Soccer - Field

It was around sunset Nov. 6 when a helicopter chartered by Desgroux landed on a soccer field at the sprawling corporate campus of SAS Institute in Cary.

As security officers approached, Desgroux stepped out wearing a "full military battle dress uniform" and displaying three stars that implied a rank of lieutenant general, Homeland Security Special Agent Tony Bell testified.

Security - Officers - Bell

"He saluted the security officers, and they actually saluted him back," Bell said.

A suspicious security supervisor confronted Desgroux, who told him he was there to pick up a female employee to take her to Fort Bragg for a classified briefing that had been authorized by President Trump. But none of it was true: Desgroux later admitted to federal agents that he'd never served in the U.S. military.

Woman - Acquaintance - Desgroux - Car - Outing

The woman, a longtime acquaintance of Desgroux, expected him to arrive in a car for an outing they'd planned. Instead they went on a 30-minute helicopter ride around Raleigh, Bell said.

"She had no idea that he was flying a helicopter to pick her up," Bell said. Bell testified Desgroux wanted to pursue a romantic relationship, but the woman is married.


She and the pilot, who has not been charged, appear...
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