Depot responds to alleged theft of military items
April 23, 2013 — The command and employees at Sierra Army Depot have responded to the arrest earlier this month of an employee who allegedly stole military equipment shipped from the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan for inventory and storage at the base near Herlong.
According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento April 5, depot employee Devon Gregory Biggs, 36, was arrested April 3 with a number of military items he allegedly was trying to steal from the depot’s Warehouse 301. 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.
Lori McDonald, public affairs and protocol officer at the depot said despite media reports based upon the court documents, Biggs was employed as a materials handler leader, not a supervisor.
She said Lt. Colonel Christopher Dexter, the depot’s commander, is "furious and extremely disappointed given the integrity of the majority of the employees" and that any employee who is placed in a position of trust would do something of this nature with no regard to taking away from a soldier's need in the field.
“I believe 99 percent of our employees are great Americans who really enjoy coming to work and believe what they are doing is for the good of the soldier,” Dexter said. “It is that 1 percent that we need to be vigilant and watch over to ensure things like this do not happen."
McDonald said to help employees become more alert about what is going on around them, Dexter has asked the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command to come back to the depot and conduct a crime prevention survey. It is anticipated this survey will be conducted later this summer.
She also said Dexter has directed his senior level leaders to conduct multiple impartial audits and security reviews of all areas of operation for accountability, not just the area where the alleged thefts occurred.
According to Dexter, there are a wide variety of security measures that have been taken as a result of this incident, such as simply changing locks, increasing the random vehicle searches and increasing the actual presence of security.
Dexter's initial focus for the immediate changes is at the site of the incident, but changes will be implemented for each operation at the depot. All supervisors have been directed to update their process flow charts, desktop guides and standard operating procedures to reflect the new internal changes.
The investigation in the theft of government property at Sierra Army Depot is still on going and to protect the integrity of the investigative process and to protect the rights of all involved, McDonald said she couldn’t release more specific information. However, the depot continues to cooperate with army investigators and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to a press release from McDonald, the depot provides rapid expeditionary logistics support and long-term sustainment solutions to the Army and the Joint Force. It also serves as a Strategic Power Projection Platform providing logistics support for asset receipt, classification, management, storage, distribution, maintenance, assembly and containerization and the rapid worldwide shipment of material in support of the American warfighter.
Biggs expects to face a possible grand jury indictment and arraignment Friday, April 26. He is currently free on a $50,000 bond.
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