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Stolen CentCom computers were found on eBay

Published Apr. 22, 2015

TAMPA — The internal theft of five laptop computers from U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base went undetected until a supplier noticed four of them advertised on eBay, according to federal court records.

A CentCom official ordered an inventory, putting it in the hands of a Riverview man who now admits to being the thief.

Scott Duty's signed federal plea agreement spells out those details and more, in anticipation of a hearing next month in which he is expected to plead guilty to stealing government property.

Duty, a former civilian CentCom employee who is 48, could face up to 10 years in prison.

There's no evidence of a data breach, U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman William Daniels said in February, when Duty was indicted, and again on Tuesday.

The indictment alleged that Duty stole computers worth $5,499. Further investigation showed he also took electronic switches and tablets, the plea agreement states. In all, the devices were worth $28,137.

"Duty had no right to any of this property," the plea agreement states.

The items were sold to a business in Brandon, which then put them on eBay. The business isn't named in the court paper.

The supplier, which manufactured the computers specifically for CentCom, sent word of the eBay discovery to base officials on May 1, 2013, about two weeks after the devices were advertised.

That's when Duty's superior asked for the inventory.

"Duty conducted the inventory and reported to the chief that 22 of the 27 computers from the supplier were accounted for," the plea agreement states.

"Shortly thereafter, Duty confessed to the chief that he had stolen the five missing computers and sold them to the business in Brandon, Florida."

Four were recovered.

Duty's employment ended that May. He had been assigned to CentCom's J6 joint communications directorate. CentCom oversees military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Contact Patty Ryan at pryan@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3382.

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