Army Depot supervisor faces theft charges
April 16, 2013 — A supervisor at Sierra Army Depot in Herlong responsible for receiving and inventorying military war materials from Iraq and Afghanistan faces felony theft charges in U.S. District Court in Sacramento.
According to press release from Lori McDonald, public information officer at the depot, “ … Mr. Devon Biggs, Jr., an employee at Sierra Army Depot, was arrested and taken into federal custody on charges related to the theft of government property. An investigation by Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation remains open and ongoing. To protect the integrity of the investigative process and to protect the rights of all involved, no further details or information will be released at this time.”
While sources at the depot remain tight-lipped, a wealth of information regarding the case is included in the criminal complaint filed Friday, April 5 in the U.S. District Court in Sacramento.
According to the complaint, Devon Gregory Biggs, 36, was arrested Wednesday, April 3 with a number of military items he allegedly was trying to steal from the depot. The items, valued at $84,884.26, included “technologically advanced thermal imagers, lasers, scopes and a modified M16A1 fully automatic rifle with an adjustable stock and converted to accept a sound suppressor,” the complaint alleges.
Employed as the lead supervisor at SIAD’s Warehouse 301 for the past three years — a building that serves as the initial receiving point for thousands of “non-standard equipment” items being shipped home from the war — the complaint alleges “as the lead employee, Biggs would have had unlimited access to items before they were inventoried and documented.”
The thousands of items are shipped by military personnel to SIAD in metal shipping containers and the inventory lists for these containers are “frequently missing or incomplete, and there is no accurate method of identifying every item that may have been in the container at the point of debarkation. Upon arrival at Sierra Army Depot, the containers are opened and inventoried for contents and identified materials are then listed on an inventory list, i.e., ‘moved to record.’ Any items found and concealed by persons opening the container would not be noted as missing, if identified at all, until the final inventory and shipping review at the end of that contract was received. Items noticed as missing would show on the U.S. Army database as still being physically present in Southwest Asia.”
According to the complaint, two separate sources reported Biggs had been seen “pre-positioning night vision and laser equipment in various areas adjacent to the exits of Warehouse 301 and in a trash crate located on the side of the road … ”
Investigators positioned closed circuit video security cameras to observe Biggs, and officers also kept him under observation.
Several witnesses reported Biggs brought a black backpack to work and the witnesses and a confidential source reported “when he did bring it (the backpack) to his workplace … it meant he was going to take ‘some item of equipment’ out of the warehouse.”
According to the complaint, “A confidential source reported that Biggs was known to put items he had removed from the warehouse into the back of (a) government pickup and depart the area. Once he was certain there was no interest in his action, he would return and recover the items placed in the truck.”
Through the cameras and direct observation, Biggs displayed “suspicious behavior” and he “appeared to be aimlessly wandering around the warehouse in a large, black, privately owned Chevrolet pickup.”
When officers saw Biggs move the black backpack from his pickup truck to a government vehicle, “the decision was made to approach him on the scene … “
Officers recovered the backpack which contained nine items of sophisticated laser and thermal imaging equipment, and operating handbooks for low light video recording equipment.
“The low light video recording equipment identified in the operator’s manual was not among the items in the backpack and is believed to be at the subject,
Biggs’, residence based on his offering a like item to a fellow employee three weeks ago to settle a debt. In addition, the upper and lower receiver groups of a fully automatic M16A1 rifle were found concealed in the bed of the government pickup truck. The bolt housing group, which was not present in the rifle, is a tubular metal house approximately 1.5 inches wide and approximately 7 inches long, containing various operating parts for the firing and extracting of ammunition, is capable of being removed and taken out in a pants pocket. A search of Biggs’ personal vehicle recovered four metal night vision helmet mounts.
Biggs posted a $50,000 bond and an arraignment hearing is expected April 26.
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