From 2016 to 2018 the motor pool and supply warehouse for 3d Raider Battalion aboard Camp, Lejeune North Carolina, were the targets of thieves within the elite commando unit, according to military charge sheets.
The culprits, five Marines with 3d Raider Battalion, managed to steal vehicle parts, military tactical gear, SureFire flashlights and even flashbang grenades in one instance.
More than $300,000 worth of government property was stolen by one group of four Marines in 2017 alone, according to Gunnery Sgt. Lynn Kinney, a spokeswoman with Marine Forces Special Operations Command.
Some of the stolen gear found its way into a local Jacksonville, North Carolina, pawn store, while other gear was sold to an unnamed civilian.
The crime spree involves two separate theft rings, which spanned from 2016 to 2018, according to charge sheets.
Four Marines, who raided the 3d Raider Battalion supply warehouse in 2017, were subject to courts-martial, where the accused Marines pleaded guilty and were sentenced to confinement ranging from five to 28 months, according to Kinney.
The Marines were subsequently demoted in rank and punitively booted from the Corps, Kinney said.
A fifth Marine, who broke into various motor transport lots in 2016, including the 3d Raider motor pool, was also subject to a court-martial, according to details in charge sheets.
Some of the charges included larceny of government property, wrongful sale of military property and obstruction of justice for at least two Marines.
“These actions are not consistent with Marine Forces Special Operations Command values and deter from our priority mission of deploying special operations forces,” Kinney told Marine Corps Times in an emailed statement.
The details of these crimes were laid out in a series of charge sheets obtained by Marine Corps Times via Freedom of Information Act request.
One of the Raider bandit theft rings involved four Marines, two lance corporals and two corporals, all from 3d Raider Battalion.
The names on the charge sheets have been redacted and it’s unknown what jobs those Marines held at Marine Forces Special Operations Command.
For at least a year, the Marines conspired together in some instances to steal equipment from the 3d Raider supply warehouse, and a couple of the Marines also took gear designated for the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office, or DRMO.
In March 2017, one of the corporals conspired with another lance corporal to steal SureFire Hellfighter Lights — a popular weapon mountable tactical flashlight.
To carry out the crime, the two Marines moved pallets to block the view of a security camera at the 3d Raider supply warehouse. After stealing the tactical flashlights, they sold 13 of the SureFires for $2,600 to an unnamed civilian, according to the charge sheets.
Other instances of theft, which involved the entire gang of four, included loading 72 fixed rifle buttstocks and 130 rifle buttstock subassembly parts into a Marine Corps 7-ton vehicle where the gear was then offloaded into a lance corporal’s personal car.
Those rifle parts were then sold to a civilian in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina.
The four Raider bandits, between the time span of January 2017–January 2018, managed to steal Leatherman multitools, Benchmade knives, SureFire scout lights, SureFire helmet lights, Ka-bars, Gerber knives, recon sleeping systems and Blackhawk rifle slings, charge sheets detailed.
The gear was sold to a civilian in Sneads Ferry.
And around January 2018, two of the Marines loaded 25 pelican cases containing portable solar panels for charging communications gear. That equipment was intended for the DRMO lot, which often houses old or outmoded gear that may be reused again by other units who find use for it.
Around Aug. 1, 2016, and May 2017, one of the Marines, without proper authorization, sold a Leatherman, four Benchmade knives, four Gerbers, one MTech knife, one Ka-bar, three SureFire lights, two SureFire scout lights and one SureFire light with an M93 rail mount to the Jacksonville Park-n-Pawn store.
Two of the Marines attempted to clean up after their crimes, according to charge sheets.
After learning that security cameras at the Raider warehouse may have recorded them stealing the equipment, two of the Marines made an effort to destroy the footage.
Sometime around July and August 2017, at least two of the Marines went to a local Jacksonville Best Buy where they purchased a hard drive.
They then replaced the hard drive connected to the 3d Raider security camera with the newly acquired hard drive. The old hard drive was tossed into a body of water.
The theft ring came crashing down around March 2018 when the command dished out charges to the four Marines for theft of the equipment.
But prior to that, in 2016, another 3d Raider Marine had managed to steal tactical military equipment and vehicle parts from several motor transport lots.
The Marine lance corporal gained entry to one the motor pool lots with a key, and in another instance, he used bolt cutters to cut a chain link fence.
The Marine stole gear from from the 3d Raider motor pool lot and the II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group motor transport lot.
The lance corporal also used bolt cutters to gain entry to a vehicle lot housing Logistics Vehicle System Replacements, or LVSR, trucks.
Looted gear from the crime spree included flashbang diversionary hand grenades, tool kits, multi-meters, BF Goodrich Baja tires, plate carriers, helmets, M16 magazines, military medical kits, fog lights, wire harnesses, headlights and composite lights.
In all, over the past several years, hundreds of thousands of dollars in tactical gear and vehicle parts have been stolen by Marines, where the 3d Raider warehouse and motor pool lot have been the central focus of the crime sprees.
“We are committed to accountability against any violation the standards we set for our Marines,” Kinney said.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.