updated 5/20/2008 4:33:06 PM ET 2008-05-20T20:33:06

An assembly line worker upset about a pending job transfer has been charged with vandalizing a military helicopter at a Boeing factory, prosecutors said Tuesday.

They said they were trying to determine who damaged a second helicopter at the plant.

Matthew Kevin Montgomery, 32, of Trevose, cut a bundle of about 70 wires on an H-47 Chinook helicopter, U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan said at a news conference.

Montgomery admitted to cutting the wires on the morning of May 10, his last day working on the Chinook line, according to an arrest affidavit. He had been a Boeing employee for 18 months.

He appeared briefly at a hearing in federal court Tuesday afternoon and was appointed a public defender after telling the judge that he made less than $20 an hour.

"Regardless of what his motivation was, the impact was the same," Meehan said. The helicopter would not have been able to fly with the cut wires, investigators said.

The production line was shut down early last week after the vandalism was discovered by workers inside the Ridley Park plant. Federal officials handed out fliers to workers, offering a $5,000 reward for information.

Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., has said a suspicious washer was found in the second helicopter. A military criminal investigator described the washer as being in a place it shouldn't have been.

Meehan said authorities were still trying to determine who damaged the second helicopter.

"The focus of the investigation continues to be on one or more Boeing employees," federal investigators said in a statement. "Montgomery is not currently a suspect in the second investigation."

The Chinook is the Army's workhorse aircraft and is used to transport troops and supplies. Boeing is currently producing new Chinooks for the Army, as well as updating older models.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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