A U.S. Navy veteran will spend the next two years in prison for stealing more than $2.5 million worth of goods from a Navy warehouse.
Herbert Gutierrez, 54, was sentenced Wednesday for stealing from a Military Sealift Command warehouse in San Diego, where he worked as a civilian after a 20-year military career, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California.
He was also ordered to pay back more than $2.5 million in restitution to the Navy and forfeit another $57,000, according to officials.
From July 2018 to April 2019, feds say Gutierrez advertised warehouse items on sites like eBay and then allowed people to drive up to the MSC warehouse during and after working hours to pick up and haul away the property.
“In February 2019, Gutierrez permitted a utility truck and a tractor-trailer to enter the MSC warehouse after hours and drive away with more than $1 million in stolen copper nickel tubing,” a release announcing Gutierrez’s sentencing states.
Gutierrez created fraudulent paperwork to cover his tracks, according to the feds.
“That same month, Gutierrez sold numerous Caterpillar parts from the warehouse to a company he found online,” the release states. “Once again, Gutierrez allowed a private freight company to enter the MSC warehouse yard and load the items, which filled four pallets.”
A few months later, in April 2019, he let two individuals enter the warehouse “in broad daylight” and loaded their vehicle with stolen property, “accepting thousands of dollars in cash in exchange,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“I’m looking at volume,” he told the individuals, according to the release. “I’m not looking at making a million-dollar profit, I’m looking at volume. I’m trying to keep this stuff going, that’s how I get paid.”
But the two individuals were undercover agents and Gutierrez’s side hustle soon ended.
He admitted to stealing and reselling the items in a plea agreement, the release states.
“This conduct was outrageous and illegal, and he is now appropriately going to prison for it,” U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said in a statement.
Gutierrez’s attorney, Marc Geller, told Navy Times this week that his client had had “marital and alcohol issues that compromised his judgement.”
“Mr. Gutierrez is sincerely remorseful, and ashamed of his conduct,” Geller said in an email.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.