Defendant Zachary Sizemore, an active-duty service member of the United States Air Force, made his initial appearance this morning before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn Go at the U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, on charges of theft and sale without authority of night-vision devices and components stolen from the Air Force. He was released on a $50,000 bond.
On November 29, 2016, the defendant was arrested on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, where he is stationed. He appeared that afternoon before United States Chief Magistrate Judge Sharon L. Ovington at the U.S. Courthouse in Dayton, Ohio, and was ordered to appear at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn this morning.
The charges were announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Craig Rupert, Special Agent-in-Charge for the Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York.
“Our military’s night vision technology is among the most advanced in the world. As alleged, the defendant made stolen, military-issued, night vision devices available on the internet to anyone with the means to purchase them. Such technology gives our soldiers a critical advantage on the battlefield. Stealing that technology and selling it to the highest bidder puts our soldiers at risk. We will continue to use all of the law enforcement tools at our disposal to help protect our soldiers abroad,” stated United States Attorney Capers. Mr. Capers expressed his grateful appreciation to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and Customs and Border Protection for their assistance.
DCIS Special Agent-in-Charge Rupert stated, “Continued cooperation with our military and federal law enforcement partners guarantees success in pursuing those who threaten the security of our American warfighters, their families, and our facilities, not to mention the investment of the American taxpayer in state-of-the-art technology for personal gain. This complaint highlights a continuing threat that DCIS will not be deterred in pursuing.”
“As an active duty member of the United States Air Force, Sizemore allegedly broke the sacred military oath of protecting this nation when he stole and sold high-tech military technology on the internet,” stated Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez of HSI New York. “This night vision equipment is highly advanced, giving our military a much deserved edge on today’s battlefield. HSI is committed to making sure this technology does not fall into the wrong hands.”
Night vision devices acquired by the United States military, such as the items allegedly stolen and sold by the defendant, contain components made to military specifications. They are required by the military to be rendered useless for their intended purpose prior to leaving government control. United States military policies prohibit the private sale of fully functional military-issued night vision equipment.
According to the complaint, between July 2013 and November 2016, Sizemore sold or attempted to sell at least three night vision devices that were stolen from the United States military, including an AN/PVS-7D night vision goggle and two mini-thermal monoculars. In addition, he created online postings for, and sold or attempted to sell, approximately 45 items described as night vision equipment or thermal equipment. Of those postings, Sizemore sold at least 38 such items for approximately $50,000.
The charges in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 10 years in prison, forfeiture, and a fine of up to $250,000.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nomi D. Berenson.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 16-M-1051