An undercover investigation into a military item allegedly listed for sale online led to the recent seizure of that and other pieces of military equipment from a pawn shop in Temecula.
Special agents with the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service tracked a medium range thermal biocular to the pawn shop after zooming in on a photograph of the item posted on Ebay.com, according to a copy of the search warrant obtained by Patch.
As part of the investigation, an undercover agent visited the pawn shop beforehand to conduct an unrelated transaction.
Also seized were: a cardboard box allegedly containing body armor such as military vests; documents pertaining to the suspected sale and receipt of suspected U.S Military property; and an ammunition can allegedly containing empty high-capacity magazines.
The sale of U.S. Military optics that have infrared laser and thermal technology, such as the one allegedly recovered in this instance, is restricted and regulated and under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, the NCIS agent wrote in the warrant. Used by Special Operations Forces, the optic provides an edge over the enemy during night-time scenarios.
Sales of stolen U.S. Military property is common in and around bases such as Camp Pendleton, the agent wrote.
An employee at the pawn shop—which Patch decided not to name because the case is still under investigation—declined to comment when contacted Friday by phone.
“I have no comment on the situation,” said the employee, who was named in the search warrant. “That has all been taken care of and we have a business to run.”
It was unclear whether any arrests were made in the case, or if the investigation would result in any criminal charges being filed.
“NCIS does not discuss the details of ongoing investigations,” wrote NCIS Spokesman Ed Buice in a March 7 email, noting that given the time frame, it was most likely still an open case.
The manufacturing and use of optics such as the one in this case have increased since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the NCIS agent wrote in the warrant. Because of the transient nature of military personnel and the number of deployments, tracking the gear may become hindered.