They say that if you wear the right uniform, you can walk into just about anywhere. Christian Desgroux, 57, proved how true that is after donning a military flight suit adorned with three stars, the rank of a lieutenant general. He then hired a helicopter pilot in Charlotte and was able to infiltrate a major technology company’s campus. He even convinced a woman to go along for a helicopter ride.
While Desgroux certainly looked the part, it turns out that the whole ordeal was a sort of “hoax.” It appears that Desgroux was trying to court a woman and believed that impersonating a general was a logical way to do so.
After securing a helicopter for his grand entrance, Desgroux landed at the SAS Institute in Cary, North Carolina. He then claimed to be on a secret mission, authorized by President Trump himself. The woman he was wooing worked for a data analytics firm. Desgroux appears to have convinced her that her insights were needed by Uncle Sam.
To Desgroux’s credit, the landing must have made quite the impression. Landing near sunset, Desgroux saluted the approaching security guards, who saluted him back. A suspicious security supervisor questioned him, but Desgroux stuck to the story.
Desgroux even managed to coax the woman, an acquaintance of 20 years, into the helicopter. They then flew around Raleigh for roughly half an hour. It’s believed that Desgroux was hoping to form a romantic relationship with the woman, who is married.
After the woman returned to the SAS campus, the security staff notified the local police. A joint terrorism task force was quickly put on the case. Desgroux is now facing the charge of impersonating an officer on duty. He faces up to three years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
Given that Desgroux infiltrated the campus of a multi-billion-dollar firm, he may have the bookthrown at him. SAS employs roughly 14,000 people worldwide and brings in $3 billion in revenue.
Up until last year, Desgroux had never been charged with anything more than traffic citations. However, marital problems may have destabilized him. Desgroux is facing misdemeanor charges of assaulting his stepdaughter and charges related to violating a protective order filed by an estranged wife. The charges are still pending.
Rather than being a general by trade, Desgroux is an automobile mechanic.