IDF Chief's Stolen Revolver Turns Up in Office Next Door

The Israel Defense Forces will review security around the office of Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, after the antique revolver stolen by soldier Louis Maskuta was found in a cupboard in a secretarial office next to that of Ashkenazi, some two weeks ago.

Maskuta, who served as a security guard at the General Staff headquarters in Tel Aviv, is currently on trial for assaulting a soldier, stealing two M-16 assault rifles and stealing an antique revolver dating back to the U.S. Civil War, which Ashkenazi had received as a gift from an American general. Maskuta is also accused of stealing and using Ashkenazi's credit card.

Maskuta told his interrogators that he gave the weapons to a criminal operative, before it transpired that the pistol was unusable. The buy was arrested during the course of the investigation into the theft, but said he'd already sold the weapons on the black market. One of the assault rifles was found in Tira, but the other rifle and the antique revolver remained missing.

Two weeks ago a soldier serving in the secretariat of the General Staff, located on the 14th floor of the General Staff building, found the revolver in an envelope in one of the cupboards, the Army Radio reported yesterday.

An initial investigation failed to determine how the revolver made its way to the cupboard or whether an unauthorized person had managed to enter one of the most secure office suites in the country.

Meanwhile, the original military police investigation is ongoing. Maskuta, when questioned about the discovery of the antique weapon, said he had no idea what had happened to it after he sold it. Maskuta's trial may now be postponed until the investigation of this new development is complete.

Maskuta's attorney, Bennie Kuzenitz, said yesterday that "the finding of the revolver proves what we've said all along - that there are stronger players than Maskuta involved in this, and that he was blackmailed. After all, it's clear that he was not the person who returned the revolver."

The IDF spokesman's office confirmed the discovery of the antique revolver, noting the secretarial office was outside the secured perimeter of the office of the chief of staff. "The investigation is still ongoing, and naturally further details cannot be disclosed," the statement said.