BX shoplifters receive zero tolerance

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- One hundred and nine individuals have been caught shoplifting at the Base Exchange within the last 12 months, and 16 have been caught in the last 30 days alone.

This is a matter that is serious and will not be tolerated, said Col. Michael Bartley, 99th Air Base Wing commander. 

“If you steal, we will catch you, and you will lose your BX privileges and you will be barred from base,” the colonel said.

According to Capt. Thomas Menza, U.S. Air Force Warfare Center Judge Advocate attorney, shoplifting at the BX is a violation of federal law, and individuals caught will be charged for stealing government property.

This offense is generally considered a Class A misdemeanor, he said. Though rarely sentenced to the maximum, defendants can face a maximum penalty of one-year confinement and a $100,000 fine.

At a minimum, defendants will pay at least $200 in fines and be criminally barred from the base for one year, in addition to carrying a federal conviction. Furthermore, defendants face civil reimbursement expenses with the Army and Air Force Exchange Service.

Only through a court martial or through non-judical punishment can a military member receive punishment. Violations by non-military persons fall under the Federal Magistrate Court and are handled through the federal courts. Below are the administrative actions Nellis follows when a military member is caught shoplifting.

For military personnel/active-duty dependents/retired military and ID-card-holding retiree dependents:

-- Petty larceny valuing up to $1,000 may result in a one-year AAFES/Commissary suspension.

-- Grand larceny of $1,001 or greater may result in a five-year AAFES/Commissary suspension.

For non-military-affiliated civilian personnel, including persons sponsored onto Nellis:

-- Petty larceny up to $1,000 may result in a five-year barment from Nellis.

-- Grand larceny of $1,001 or higher may result in a five-year barment from Nellis.

Juvenile offenders (under 18 years old) who are military affiliated will also be subject to review under the Juvenile Corrections Board.

“Though the state may prosecute the same infractions, we have the capability to handle these cases through the federal system,” said Captain Menza. “Our security forces will conduct the investigations, and the base legal office will prosecute as special assistant U.S. attorneys. We have been actively prosecuting these cases for several months,” he said. In addition to being held accountable by the justice system, those caught shoplifting can expect to be held accountable by AAFES.

According to Ken Klein, Nellis AAFES manager, each individual caught shoplifting is liable, by public law, to pay AAFES a $200 civil recovery fee.

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