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Local contractors arrested in theft of uniforms from Incirlik Air Base

RAF MILDENHALL, England — Officials at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey said Monday they believe they have identified the culprits in a series of thefts that netted $5,000 to $6,000 in uniforms and personal items.

Four local-national contractors employed by Vinnell-Brown and Root were apprehended in early December by Turkish authorities after an investigation by Air Force security forces, said Tech. Sgt. Cliff Howey, the noncommissioned officer in charge of investigations with 39th Security Forces Squadron.

Howey said the names of the accused are not being released.

How they were able to steal the items is still under investigation.

Security forces began receiving reports in September that airmens’ storage lockers, which are accessed by a key card, had been broken into, Howey said.

In response, security forces installed video cameras in locker areas. Using images from the video camera, security forces were able to have Turkish authorities detain the four suspects, Howey said.

One of the accused confessed and led police to a market where the items were being sold, Howey said. About one-third of the stolen items — uniforms, outerwear and personal items — have been recovered, he said. Officials estimate the value of the items at between $5,000 and $6,000.

“We do know they were using key cards,” Howey said, but it is unknown where they got the cards. “We’ve concluded that it’s a criminal action, not a threat action.”

Incirlik spokesman 1st Lt. David Liapis wrote in an email that any information about how they got the key cards “would be speculation since that aspect is still under investigation.”

“While we look into our various procedures on a regular basis, we have used this incident to look more in-depth into our processes,” Liapis said. “We are always looking for ways to improve the way we do things. We care about our people and their property.”

mathis.adam@stripes.com
 

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