Second man convicted in theft of military equipment

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A second man involved in stealing military equipment valued at more than $200,000 from Fort Gordon was sentenced to prison Thursday.

Marquette Mitchell, 38, pleaded guilty earlier this year to theft of government property. He and Omar Gavin, 34, were arrested last year after selling Army style duffle bags full of metal equipment to recycling centers.

“We are in a time of war,” U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall told Mr. Mitchell. “We have men and women every day who are away from their families … they are willing to sacrifice their families … their limbs and ultimately their lives in defense of our nation.

“You chose the wrong place and the wrong time in the wrong circumstances.”

Cortez Daniels testified Thursday that Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Gavin were laborers who worked for him in equipment maintenance. The equipment they stole in July and August 2008 was in working condition, he said, and most it was recovered and will be used again.

Mr. Mitchell said he thought the equipment was being set aside for disposal.

Mr. Mitchell, who had no prior criminal convictions, fell into a sentencing range of 21 to 27 months. Judge Hall sentenced him to 22 months in prison.

Once Mr. Mitchell completes his sentence, he will serve three years probation, during which time he must perform 150 hours of community service and repay the government $2,057 for the items not recovered.

Mr. Gavin, 34, was sentenced earlier this year to 41 months in prison for his role in the thefts.


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