Air Force investigating after man gains access to South Florida military base; says it was a “prank”

(WSVN) - A man pretending to be in the Air Force was able to get onto a South Florida military base. How he did it is now the focus of a federal investigation. 7’s Brian Entin has tonight’s special report, “Breach on the Base.”

The Homestead Air Reserve Base is home to hundreds of service members and F-16 fighter jets that can be scrambled in minutes. Around the base, there are fences, guards and high security. Everyone who comes in and out is supposed to be screened.

Brian Entin: “How serious is a breach like this?”

Stuart Kaplan, former FBI agent: “It’s very serious.”

7News has learned about a security breach that sparked a joint Air Force/FBI investigation.

Stuart Kaplan: “You never want to have anybody come onto an Air Force base, or any sort of military installation, because we maintain top secret type of information, equipment.”

The man who got onto the base is Diomonte Jean. While the 20-year-old is not in the Air Force, he looks like he is.

In videos posted publicly on his Facebook page, he is wearing an Air Force uniform and is on the tarmac. In one video, he’s just feet away from a fighter jet.

Talmecia Minnis, Jean’s godmother: “I found it hard to believe as well, when I went to see the pictures with him by the airplanes and everything.”

Diomonte Jean, on Facebook video: “Air Force pride.”

Jean’s godmother says he has pretended to be in the military for years, worn fatigues and even talked about going off to training.

Brian Entin: “Is he believable?”

Talmecia Minnis: “Very. Very convincing.”

She says the latest incident took things to another level.

Talmecia Minnis: “It’s escalating bad. Very bad.”

Last year, Jean was arrested in Florida City for openly carrying a gun that was reported stolen. In his arrest report, an officer wrote Jean said he got the gun from a “friend” when they “…were shooting in the military base.”

And, in a court document, Jean listed his address as “Homestead Air Reserve Base.”

We found Diomonte Jean at a house in Florida City.

Brian: “Diomonte Jean?” (Jean shakes his head no.)

At first he denied who he was — but then agreed to talk.

Brian Entin: “How were you able to get on the base?”

Diomonte Jean: “How was I able to get on the base?”

Brian Entin: “Yeah, not being in the military. How were you able to sneak on the base?”

Diomonte Jean: “Civil Air Patrol.”

The Civil Air Patrol is a volunteer organization. We called them, and they confirmed Jean is “not” a member but said he was allowed to attend a few meetings on base as an escorted guest.

A source close to the investigation tells 7News Jean also managed to get on the base unescorted on more than one occasion.

Diomonte Jean: “Me recording on the base, or recording myself, or just recording the planes, period, was the breach right there.”

Brian Entin: “And you were close to the planes?”

Diomonte Jean: “Yeah.”

Jean called what he did a “prank” and a “mistake.”

Brian Entin: “Were you told not to come back on the Air Force base?”

Diomonte Jean: “They said, because of the prank and stuff like that, don’t try to come back.”

Brian: “Why do you keep calling it a prank? What do you mean by prank?”

Diomonte Jean: “Like I said, I was making videos, and I was playing around.”

Jean says it was easy for him to get on the base.

Brian Entin: “You never had a military ID?”

Diomonte Jean: “No. They always check my driver’s license, and they let me through with that.”

Once he was caught, Jean says he was handcuffed and detained for two hours.

Authorities have reviewed his videos.

Stuart Kaplan: “I would think, immediately at Homestead Air Force Base, there have already been changes made. It’s very embarrassing.”

The Air Force will only tell us that there is an ongoing investigation, and that the FBI is the lead — but the FBI is not commenting.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s office says they aware of the incident but won’t talk about it until the investigation is finished.

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