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Ex-Boeing Worker Gets 10 Months For Vandalizing Copter

Former Boeing assembly line employee will spend five months in prison and five months in home confinement for damaging a $24 million military helicopter.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A former Boeing employee will spend five months in prison and five months in home confinement for vandalizing a $24 million military helicopter during his last shift on a suburban Philadelphia assembly line.

Matthew Montgomery, of Trevose, also must pay $110,000 in restitution as part of a federal sentence handed down Monday.

The 33-year-old pleaded guilty in September to one count of destroying property under contract to the government. He told the judge he did not know how to deal with stress.

Montgomery, who earned $19 an hour, was apparently upset about being transferred to another job at the Ridley Township plant after applying for positions at other Boeing Co. sites.

He used his work-issued wire cutters to sever about 70 electrical wires running from the cockpit to the main body of a nearly finished H-47 Chinook on May 10.

The helicopter would not have been able to fly, so there was no risk of injury, and the damage was readily spotted by plant officials two days later. The vandalism led Boeing officials to shut down the assembly line for two days, causing additional losses.

The same week, a suspicious washer was found in a second helicopter. No one has been charged in that incident, which remains under investigation, authorities said Monday.

U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick sentenced Montgomery at the low end of the 10- to 16-month guideline range.

"Although the defendant has no prior criminal history, the defendant's crime was violent and senseless," Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine Votaw wrote in a recent memo asking for a sentence within the guideline range.

Neither she nor public defender Mara Meehan immediately returned messages left by The Associated Press on Monday.

Montgomery, who has declined to comment publicly about the case, was ordered to report to prison on Feb. 17.

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