Neighbor of man accused of attempted espionage: ‘What the heck was he thinking about?’

Posted at 8:44 PM, Dec 06, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-06 20:44:22-05

Robert Hoffman poses in his Navy uniform in a Facebook picture, but Feds say he used his naval experience to betray his country.

“What the heck was he thinking about? For crying out loud. That traitor!” says Lynn Williams who lives just a few yards from Hoffman's home in the Aragona neighborhood of Virginia Beach.

She saw the Feds come to arrest him for espionage Thursday morning.

“The police cars and then all the FBI agents were out there and after they took him away, they went through the house and searched the house and the cars,” says Williams.

Williams says authorities left with boxes of Hoffman's belongings. His car still sits in the driveway.

Williams says all the activity spooked her.

But she's not shocked to learn Hoffman's in hot water.

“It didn't surprise me that he was in trouble, the kind of trouble that he's in is really a shame,” says Williams.

Feds say that the retired cryptologist thought he was giving classified information about U.S. submarines to the Russians. Williams says that scenario doesn't seem far-fetched.

“Well, he was in a submarine for a long time,” says Williams.

As the Feds are building their case against Hoffman, Williams hopes justice will prevail.

“If he's convicted of that, then he deserves what he gets,” says Williams. 


Retired Navy petty officer charged with attempted espionage