News|Military News

By Drew Bryant
April 4th, 2022,

Last year, the Department of Homeland Security and the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division started an investigation into stolen military equipment from Fort Hood. The investigation was into the theft of nearly $2.2 million dollars worth of military equipment stolen from the military installation. The theft including IR Lasers and illuminators, PRC-117 radios, satellite gear, and thermal optics. This heist of the night vision was concocted by two Army veterans with one civilian businessman who was in on the take.

The initial investigation of theft into the military equipment began back in July of 2021, when the best reported over 100 night vision devices were missing. This is what prompted the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and Department of Homeland Security to get involved in the matter. During the course of the joint investigation it was revealed that veterans Jessica Elaintrell Smith and Brandon Dominic Brown had conspired with businessman David Nichols to steal the military equipment. In total the crew was able to steal: 68 PAS-13 thermal scopes, 3 AN-PRC-117 radios, 3 PEQ-15 standard-issue weapon-mounted laser units, nine AN-PSC-5 satellite communication terminals, 1 AN-VRC-90 radio, and 47 RT-1523 radios.

The theft was uncovered by surveillance cameras on the base. Video footage shows the alleged thieves stealing the military equipment. On the night of the heist Smith and Brown were seen arriving separately on the base around 9pm where the two then proceed to break into a Conex box, take the gear, and throw it over a nearby fence. After retrieving all the gear Smith and Brown sent photos to Nichols to purchase and flip. Investigators from the case later found some of the items in question being sold on Nichol’s EBay account everythingmustgo.

The Army veterans Smith and Brown will face up to five years in prison if found guilty of conspiracy to commit theft of government property and up to $250,000 fine. Smith and Brown have plead “not guilty” to the charges while Nichols have plead guilty to the same charge. Nichols also plead guilty to operating illegal gambling devices at his two businesses. The businessman also agreed to forfeit $2.1 million dollars and face up to five years for each of the guilty pleas. Nichols will be sentenced on June 21st.

What did you think of the heist? Do you think Army needs stronger security on its installations? Let us know in the comments below?

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