Much of the property owned by the United States is located outside the territorial limits of this country. The presence of American military and diplomatic personnel overseas necessarily requires the presence of government property abroad as well. In order to protect this property, section 641 has been construed to have extraterritorial effect. See United States v. Cotten, 471 F.2d 744, 749-50 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 411 U.S. 936 (1973). Therefore, the theft of United States government property in foreign countries violates 18 U.S.C. § 641.
Venue for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 641 committed abroad is defined by 18 U.S.C. § 3238, which provides that the trial of such offenses shall be brought in the district "in which the offender, or any one of two or more joint offenders, is arrested or is first brought; but if such offender or offenders are not so arrested or brought into any district, an indictment or information may be filed in the district of the last known residence of the offender or of any one of two or more joint offenders, or if no such residence is known the indictment or information may be filed in the District of Columbia." See 18 U.S.C. § 3238. See United States v. Cotten, 471 F.2d at 749-50.
[cited in JM 9-66.200]