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Man guilty of stealing $340K in copper

  Criminal Law  -   POSTED: 2010/10/21 09:11

An Annapolis man admitted yesterday that he stole more than $340,000 of copper cable intended for use in the construction of unmanned drones destined for U.S. foreign military operations - possibly in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Levon Smith, 54, faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced Dec. 17 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

"Theft of Defense Department property is an issue that reverberates throughout the contracting process," said Robert Craig, special agent in charge for the Mid-Atlantic field office of the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense Criminal Investigative Service. In a prepared statement, he claimed that such thefts raise safety concerns and cost taxpayers money.

"Our men and women serving in harm's way deserve better," he said.

Smith pleaded guilty yesterday to theft of government property.

According to a plea agreement, Smith was a senior material control analyst at AAI Corp., a defense contractor based in Hunt Valley that designs and builds aerospace equipment for the federal government and other entities.

The government purchased copper cables and other supplies for AAI to install in unmanned aerial vehicles that eventually would be deployed for the nation's foreign military operations.

On more than 40 occasions between June 2008 and October 2009, Smith stole rolls of the cable from AAI buildings and sold it to an area recycling center, prosecutors said.

Smith attempted to cover his tracks by using an expired Arizona driver's license when dealing with Maryland Recycling in Rosedale.

In all, Smith stole about $340,000 worth of government materials, prosecutors said. He received about $22,000 from the recycling company.


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