A lawyer for one of the five men arrested after trying unsuccessfully to enter a Natick military facility said yesterday that his client tried to gain entry to buy uniform material for an assignment with the US Army Reserve.
“I think the big issue yesterday was [that] everybody was thinking that this was some kind of an Al Qaeda incursion,’’ said Michael Brennan, a lawyer for Michel Montero, 23, of New York City.
“As I said yesterday, I think [the attempted entrance] was probably a little bit more than your average stupidity.’’
Montero and four other men, also from New York, were arrested Monday afternoon outside the US Army Soldier Systems Center after some of them allegedly presented fake civilian identification.
Police later found items including nine laptop computers and 43 credit cards, some with names matching those on the fake identifications, authorities said.
The men pleaded not guilty in Framingham District Court Tuesday to various forgery and theft charges.
Brennan said yesterday by phone that Montero was demoted when he received a general discharge in November from his medical supply unit in the New York Army National Guard. He needed new insignia to reflect his change in rank before reporting to Illinois for an assignment with the Army Reserve, Brennan said.
Eric Durr, a spokesman for the New York Army National Guard, said yesterday that Montero joined in 2008 and was assigned to the 369th Sustainment Brigade before his November general discharge for missing training exercises.
Montero is currently assigned to the Individual Ready Reserve for the Army, Durr said. The reserve could not be reached yesterday to confirm whether Montero had an assignment scheduled in Illinois.
Durr said that military bases often have clothing stores where personnel can buy uniform items.
Messages left at the public affairs line at the Natick center, which researches and develops equipment and other items for soldiers, were not returned last night.
Brennan said Montero and the other men deny that any of the electronics or other items found in their rented sport utility vehicle were stolen.
Police said Tuesday that the men have no known ties to terrorism, and Brennan said yesterday that they do not pose a public safety threat.
He said one of the men works for an electronics company in New York, and that authorities are alleging that the items found in the vehicle were stolen because the men had no receipts for them.
Brennan said he has not discussed the credit cards in detail with his client.
A spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney declined to comment on the allegedly stolen goods yesterday, except to say that authorities determined they appeared to be stolen.
Brennan said the men had come to Massachusetts to attend a party in Lynn.
Montero and the other defendants, identified by police as Bryand Raposo, 20; Jeriel Delosangeles, 22; Daylin Santos-Vargas, 22; and Dalmonte Dawill, 19, are scheduled back in Framingham District Court March 14 for a pretrial conference.
Daniel Cappetta, a lawyer for Delosangeles, said his client is only being charged with conspiracy and receiving stolen property. He said police have established no connection between the items and Delosangeles, besides his presence in the SUV.Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.