JOPLIN, Mo. - Four Missouri National Guard soldiers stole electronics from a Walmart in Joplin while helping with recovery efforts the day after the store was destroyed by a tornado, according to records released Tuesday.
The Guard said three specialists and a sergeant who admitted taking video game players, a camera, and other items believed the merchandise was going to be discarded, the Joplin Globe reported. The four men, who are not named in the records, were part of a team assigned to look for survivors and help with recovery a day after the tornado devastated Joplin and killed 161 people.
An investigating officer recommended that the four be demoted but the records do not indicate what type of discipline they eventually received.
The Guard released 13 pages of memorandums to the Joplin Globe after refusing to release them last week to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Guard had argued it was exempt from the state’s open records law.
According to the records, two specialists stole Nintendo video game players valued at $138 and $169; another specialist took a Kodak Easyshare camera worth about $115; and the sergeant took a Nintendo video game player, some Xbox games and a headset, with an estimated combined value of $354.