Isle civilian convicted of stealing from Navy


POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kaimana Cummings said he thought it would be cool to try out some night-vision goggles at home, so he took a pair from one of the USS Chosin's storerooms last June and put it in his pocket.

At the time, the missile cruiser was in dry dock at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, and Cummings was a civilian employee on night watch in the storeroom.

He now faces up to 10 years in prison for stealing the goggles, valued at $6,217.

Cummings pleaded guilty to the theft in federal court yesterday.

U.S. District Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway scheduled sentencing for September.

Cummings said he tried to return the goggles. But by then other thefts had occurred, so anybody boarding and leaving the vessel was searched.

With no way to return the goggles to the ship without getting caught, Cummings said he held onto them. He said he turned them in later after being accused by naval investigators.

So far no others have been charged with stealing night-vision goggles from the Chosin.

Last November, a federal grand jury indicted six Kaneohe Marines accused of trying to sell eight night-vision monoculars to someone who said he was taking them to Hong Kong. A seventh Marine was charged with selling three of the devices.

In addition to theft, the Marines face charges of violating and attempting to violate an export ban.

The night-vision monocular, which can be handheld or mounted on combat helmets or weapons, is a controlled product under the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations. It may be exported only by someone with a license, and the export must be registered with the U.S. State Department.

Most of the devices were believed stolen from a Marine armory in Kaneohe.

Three of the Marines have agreed to be prosecuted by the military. The others are scheduled to stand trial in August.