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Man admits to stealing $332K in computer equipment from Afghanistan air base

A Naperville man accused of stealing and reselling more than $332,000 worth of military computer equipment from an Air Force base in Afghanistan has pleaded guilty.

Timothy L. Maurer, 51, was charged last month with one count of theft of government property, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office. He pleaded guilty Monday during his arraignment before U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. in federal court in Chicago.

In pleading guilty, Maurer admitted to stealing computer and communications equipment from storage containers belonging to the 445th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, stationed at Shindand Air Base in Afghanistan, prosecutors claim.

At the time of the theft, Maurer worked in Afghanistan as a systems administrator for defense contractor Raytheon Corp., prosecutors said.

Between December 2013 and February 2014, Maurer took more than 150 items — laptop computers, cellphones, electronic storage devices, power cables and other devices worth more than $322,000 in total, authorities said.

Prosecutors also accused Maurer of reselling some of the stolen high-end equipment to several vendors in the U.S., the statement said. Federal authorities later recovered some of the items from Maurer’s quarters and from vendors, and intercepted other items during shipment.

“Stealing from the U.S. government undermines our mission in Afghanistan, and anyone seeking to defraud the American taxpayer will be brought to justice,” John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, said in the prepared statement.

Maurer, of Naperville, is free on his own recognizance while awaiting an April 7 sentencing hearing. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, but his plea agreement anticipates a likely sentence between 24 and 30 months, the statement said.