4 sentenced for conspiring to steal U.S. Army equipment, sell it on eBay

Some of the equipment sold (Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Four of eight men charged with conspiring to steal U.S. Army equipment were sentenced in federal court Tuesday.

John Roberts, 27, of Clarksville, was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison. He was found guilty by a federal jury on Aug. 31, 2017, of conspiracy to steal U.S. Army property and selling that stolen property, 10 counts of wire fraud, and two counts of violating the Arms Export Control Act.

Roberts, a civilian, was also ordered to pay $4.2 million in restitution to the U.S. Army.

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During the trial, evidence reportedly proved that Roberts conspired with soldiers who stole the equipment, often after hours, from Fort Campbell.

According to federal officials, he then purchased the equipment from the soldiers in cash-only deals and often in dark parking lots.

Roberts then resold this military grade equipment via eBay, and he’s accused of knowing that some of the soldiers he was purchasing the stolen equipment from had financial problems or serious drug addictions.

A press release states evidence also proved Roberts illegally exported certain restricted U.S. Army equipment, including night vision helmet mounts, to eBay customers around the world, including customers in Russia, China, Thailand, Japan, the Netherlands, Australia, India, Germany, and Mexico.

Three other defendants previously pleaded guilty and were also sentenced on Tuesday, including:

  • Alexander Hollibaugh, formerly of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and sell U.S. Army property, was sentenced to time served and placed on probation;
  • U.S. Army Specialist Dustin Nelson, 23 of Northville, New York, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and sell U.S. Army property, was sentenced to three years’ probation; and
  • Aaron Warner, of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal and sell U.S. Army property, was also placed on three years’ probation.

The four remaining defendants– Michael Barlow and Jonathan Wolford, both of Clarksville; Kyle Heade, of Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and Cory Wilson, of Gonzalez, Louisiana –have also pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 8, 2018.

Each faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the conspiracy charge.

Wilson faces up to 20 years for each count of wire fraud and violating the Arms Export Control Act.

In addition, Barlow faces up to 10 years in prison on the theft charge.

The defendants also face forfeiture of the proceeds of their crimes.

The U.S. Army equipment listed for sale on eBay included sniper telescopes and other sniper rifle accessories; parts for the M249 machine gun (including barrel assemblies, trigger groups, rail adapter kits, magazine buttstocks, mounts, and heat shields); sights for the M203 grenade launcher; “red dot” sights for the M2 and M4 assault rifles; flight helmets; communications headsets; and medical supplies. Certain equipment sold on eBay was advertised as “Army Special Forces,” “USGI” (U.S. Government Issued), and “New in Package.”