Soldier Sentenced for Ditching Military Base with Gun ({{commentsTotal}})

Harju County Court today handed Jaan Pikhof, 23, a one year suspended sentence for disappearing from a military training exercise with a firearm in November.

The private, a member of the Kalev Infantry Battalion, had triggered a major search operation when he departed from a missile base in Kuusalu during an orienteering exercise.

Assuming Pikhof was lost or injured, the Defense Forces launched a search involving over 500 people, dogs and a helicopter. Together they combed roughly 180 square kilometers of land.

The following day, police found the conscript at his home in Rakvere Municipality. He had abandonned his unloaded Galil AR in a forest a few kilometers outside of the military base.

Pikhof was also ordered to pay for the cost of the search and court fees.