Former soldier accused of stealing weapons in Iraq

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A former Vermont National Guard soldier has admitted stealing weapons while in Iraq, mailing them home and trying to sell them.

Forty-two-year-old Joseph Downing, formerly of Thornton, New Hampshire, was accused of stealing two high-explosive rocket-propelled grenades, 119 rounds of “green-tipped tracer” ammunition, five magazines for M-16 rifles and two laser sights.

Downing pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Concord, New Hampshire, to one count each of conversion of government property and possessing an unregistered firearm. Charges of possession of stolen explosive materials and receipt of a firearm obtained from out of state were dismissed in exchange for the plea.

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