A Marine first sergeant previously stationed at the Corps’ recruit depot aboard Parris Island, South Carolina, will face a preliminary military hearing over his alleged involvement in a razor blade theft ring.
The first sergeant was named by his initials in an Oct. 10 indictment that purported the Marine noncommissioned officer conspired with three Defense Department civilian employees, working at the recruit store and warehouse at the depot, to steal nearly $1.5 million in Gillette razors.
“The Marine Corps is aware of the circumstances surrounding First Sergeant Lascelles Chambers and cannot confirm specific details due to the ongoing investigation,” Maj. Roger Hollenbeck, a Marine spokesman, told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement.
The case will head to a preliminary hearing known as an Article 32, where the Corps will determine its “next course of action,” but that has yet to be scheduled, according to Hollenbeck.
The Post and Courier reported that Chambers’ alleged co-conspirators, Orlando Byson, Tommie Harrison Jr. and Sarah Brutus, will be arraigned on Oct. 30 in U.S. District Court in Charleston.
Parris Island has a store that sells razor blades at a discount price to recruits aboard the depot.
The Parris Island razor blade racket was detailed in a federal indictment:
Chambers allegedly had approached Brutus “and asked her to steal boxes of high-end Gillette razors, razor blades and other items” from the recruit store, according to the indictment.
Brutus then allegedly introduced two other employees, Harrison and Byson, to Chambers to help steal the razors.
Harrison and Byson allegedly were able to steal boxes of the razors from the warehouse on a weekly basis and avoided detection by evading or disabling the security cameras, according to the indictment.
The stolen merchandise allegedly was delivered in person to Chambers until he was transferred in March 2018 to Florida. The razor blades were then transported via U.S. Postal Service.
Chambers allegedly would sell the blades and split up the proceeds through wire transfer from his Navy Federal Credit Union account.
The cohorts in the razor theft scheme allegedly carried out this illegal activity from roughly January 2017 through June 2018, the indictment says.
The Post and Courier reported that the use of the postal service may have caused the scheme to come apart when Chambers called about the status of boxes containing 720 packages of Gillette blades that were sent to New York.
Federal Investigators then found wire transfers to one of the DoD civilian employees, according to The Post and Courier.
Chambers is an active-duty Marine currently assigned to Site Support, Palm Beach, 4th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, Force Headquarters Group, Marine Forces Reserve, Hollenbeck said.
He served as a company first sergeant for Headquarters and Service Battalion at the recruit depot from August 2016 to March 2018, according to his official military bio.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.