At Fort Stewart, 425 soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry are on lock-down as the Army investigates the theft of eight sets of night vision goggles. The goggles' value totals $48,000.
Soldiers discovered the goggles were missing at about 6:20 a.m. Tuesday. They found a door open to the room where the goggles were stored, said Dina Doss, a Fort Stewart spokeswoman. Because the high-tech goggles cost so much, they're locked away until soldiers need them for training.
Shortly after the discovery, Col. David Wood, 1st Brigade commander, ordered soldiers in the battalion to be held for an investigation. Fort Stewart's rules require soldiers to be held when expensive equipment such as the goggles or weapons such as M-16 rifles are missing, Ms. Doss said.
The lock-down gives investigators time to search for the goggles before they are removed from the area, said Gary Glemboski, a former Marine and Special Forces soldier who works for the Savannah Police Department. It also keeps suspects from leaving.
After Col. Wood ordered the lock-down, soldiers were given an hour to go home and pick up personal things such as toothbrushes and changes of clothes. Now, no one leaves or enters the battalion except for a quick trip across the street to a dining hall, Ms. Doss said.
The soldiers will remain in the battalion until Col. Wood or the battalion commander decides the lock-down is no longer needed.
Meanwhile, soldiers at the battalion continue maintenance on the battalion's Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Humvees and other trucks. At night, they are allowed to watch television and listen to music.
Another 150 soldiers in the battalion are in the woods at Fort Stewart for a training exercise, and 110 are in Kuwait for a four-month rotation.
Fort Stewart's Criminal Investigation Division is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of people involved in the theft. Anyone with information should call (912) 767-4374.