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Two Cadets Charged In Robbery Have No Future At VMI

January 20, 1989

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) _ Two Virginia Military Institute cadets who admitted taking part in an armored car robbery will never be allowed to return to the college, where even lying is punishable by expulsion, a spokesman said.

″Right now, they’re simply on administrative leave,″ VMI spokesman Tom Joynes said Thursday. ″In all probability, they’ll resign. If they came back, they would be dismissed by the Honor Court.″

The 150-year-old college, reknowned for its strict discipline, convenes an Honor Court that has just one sanction - expulsion - for any student found to have lied, cheated or stolen.

The students, William T. Jasinski and Bryan Smals, told a federal magistrate Wednesday night they had been involved in a $4.5 million armored car heist orchestrated by Jasinski’s father.

The father, Robert Jasinski, of Boonton, N.J., also was arrested. He posted $400,000 bond Thursday in New Jersey by putting up his $900,000 house as collateral.

The younger Jasinski, 22, also of Boonton, and Smals, 21, of Columbus, Ohio, were being held in the Roanoke city jail while awaiting their appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Glen Conrad, officials said.

News of the arrests shocked some cadets on the VMI campus lined with aging cannons and statues of military heroes. Those who knew the pair described them as quiet students who worked out with weights and appeared to be good cadets.

″For the most part, everyone’s shocked,″ said Gray Riddick, a junior. ″I knew one of them (Smals) personally. He didn’t seem like a person who would be a robber. I’d say he’s kind of quiet, but he seemed nice. He just seemed normal to me.″

″I knew Jasinski quite well,″ said David Martin, a senior. ″He was a model student. His appearance was excellent. He was one of the friendliest guys you’d ever meet.″

Neither student was involved much in extracurricular affairs, Joynes said.

Smals was a good student, a sophomore studying English on a Navy scholarship, he said. He characterized Jasinski as a C-student who was a fifth-year senior studying mechanical engineering.

Joynes said that about four or five of the school’s 1,300 male students are thrown out for honor code violations each year. Most are caught lying about such things as where they were at a certain time, he said.

″Stealing is rare,″ Joynes said. ″I doubt we’ve had one of those in 10 years.″

At a snack bar on campus, a dollar bill was tacked to a bulletin board. Snack bar workers said cadets who find money misplaced in the dining area always put it up on the board for its rightful owner.

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