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Ex-state worker pleads guilty to stealing surplus military weapons

Posted April 30, 2013

— A former state employee pleaded guilty Tuesday to stealing surplus military weapons, authorities said.

Robert Brian Minish, 57, of Henderson, pleaded guilty to theft of property belonging to the United States. He will be sentenced in August, when he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Minish worked for Law Enforcement Support Services, a division of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, and coordinated the transfer of surplus weapons from the Department of Defense to state and local law enforcement agencies, authorities said.

A 2009 audit of LESS records showed that dozens of firearms weren't accounted for and hundreds more, including some automatic weapons, were improperly stored at the agency's Raleigh offices, authorities said.

Minish repeatedly lied to investigators about the missing guns, some of which were in his possession, and sent federal agents on a goose-chase across the state trying to hunt down the weapons, authorities said.

Authorities said Minish even mailed a package filled with guns to LESS offices in June 2010, purporting that the Alamance County Sheriff's Office was returning six loaned weapons, authorities said.

Investigators determined that Minish also stole other surplus property that LESS was supposed to loan to law enforcement agencies, including gun safes, tool bins, goggles, spotting scopes, encrypted radios and gun cleaning kits.

He sold more than $30,000 in the surplus property on eBay between August 2008 and September 2010, authorities said.

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  • BubbaDukeforPresident May 9, 2013

    I used to serve with Robert Minish in the National Guard many years ago. Back then he was a medic.

    This was nothing more than having temptation and opportunity present at the same time. No doubt people who knew him approached him to see if he could get them surplus items. When you start out helping others, you eventually decide to help yourself. He's also been a part of a system where he's watched other employees do the same thing and rationalized that he might as well benefit too. Doesn't make him an extremist or a bad person. He made bad choices like lot of other people do and now he's got to pay the penalty for those choices. It could happen to most of us.

    You pathetic people who try to make a connection between this and the NRA or gun proponents need to get a life.

  • woodrock223 May 1, 2013

    "This is an example of a person obsessed with guns. The same scenario happened in Kenosha, Wis in 1981. The range officer for the police department made hundreds of weapons 'disappear' by selling 'parts' at gun shows and thru trade papers before the internet. There is a type of personality that lusts for more and more guns for no particular reason except admiration of the art form - guns are metal works of art that are also machines. The really good ones are not only staggeringly beautiful but can put a bullet in the same hole repeatedly. Perfection. The NRA represents hundreds of thousands of people who feel the same way as the guy in this story. If put in a position with access to weapons with cloudy accounting they couldn't help themselves from making a few disappear. When he/they didn't get caught more would disappear.

    teleman, your post makes no sense. if he was obsessed with guns, why wouldnt he keep them instead of selling them? this man was driven by GREED for more MONEY.

  • jayb8408 May 1, 2013

    He will get a light sentence.. That's just how our justice system works... But if they caught the individuals he sold the weapons to, they would get more time than him...

  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 1, 2013

    @Ole Glory, so people who collect, buy/sell and love guns are not "legitimate gun owners"?

    And, how about addressing the comparison between stealing chickens versus stealing military-grade guns?

  • Red Green May 1, 2013

    JustOneGodLessThanU said, “Do they make automatic chickens with 50-round clips, capable of killing dozens of humans in under a minute?”

    His point is about teleman trying to associate this guy with a legitimate firearms owner. Try to keep up.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 1, 2013

    @grimreaper said, "had it been chickens...he would have stolen those just the same...has nothing to do with firearms at all..."

    Do they make automatic chickens with 50-round clips, capable of killing dozens of humans in under a minute?

  • grimreaper May 1, 2013

    "This is an example of a person obsessed with guns." -teleman60

    Laughable...he was a government employee stealing what he had control over...had it been chickens...he would have stolen those just the same...has nothing to do with firearms at all...

  • Union Cavalry May 1, 2013

    The lesson of this story: Do not mess with NCIS--they are the
    ones who helped nail him.

  • 82ndAAHeel May 1, 2013

    What is law enforcement doing with automatic weapons? Sounds like a recipe for a paramilitary police state. timexliving

    Do you remember the incident in LA a few years ago, where two maniacs in body armor and heavy automatics weapons had a shootout with the LAPD? 98 minutes long. They made a movie about it. The police had side arms. I too fear with the use of Drones by law enforcement is causing us to slide to a more para military police state, but there are times when the police have to be able to match the fire power of the criminals.

  • LKG-Lover May 1, 2013

    Ahh the alure of guns. No, I think teleman60 missed this one. This is all about greed. He is nothing more than a petty thief and a liar. It is unfair to group him with serious gun lovers. There was nothing rare or collectable about the things he stole, gun cleaning kits, googles, scopes, etc. He was just a thief looking to make some easy money. Please don't stereotype him with real gun enthusists.

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