Parris Island Marine Accused Of Engineering $1.5 Million Razor Blade Conspiracy, Theft

news
U.S. Marine Corps photo

A Marine and three civilian employees have been accused of stealing more than $1.5 million — much of it in the form of razor blades — from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, according to court documents.


The news, first reported by The Post and Courier, comes after the Oct. 10 federal indictment of Orlando Byson, Tommie Harrison Jr. and Sarah Brutus, who are Department of Defense employees alleged to have conspired to defraud the government. Byson and Harrison Jr. are further alleged to have stolen government property.

Marine Corps First Sgt. Lascelles Chambers — referred to as “L.C.” in the indictment, but whose identity was confirmed by Marine Corps spokesman Maj. Roger Hollenbeck — is accused of engineering the plot, according to court documents.

Chambers was previously assigned to Parris Island, according to court records. In an email to The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette, Hollenbeck said Chambers is currently an active duty Marine with 4th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company, a Marine Forces Reserve unit in West Palm Beach, Fla.

First Sergeant Lascelles F. ChambersU.S. Marine Corps photo

Chambers is alleged to have approached Brutus, who worked at the “Recruit Store,” and “asked her to steal boxes of high-end Gillette razors, razor blades and other items from the Recruit Store,” the indictment said.

Brutus, in turn, is alleged to have introduced Chambers to Byson and Harrison Jr. — who work at the store’s warehouse — to allegedly “participate in the conspiracy,” according to the indictment.

Thefts from the warehouse occurred weekly, court documents said. Byson and Harrison Jr. were allegedly able to “evade or disable the security cameras,” which allowed the theft “to continue undetected for an extended period.”

Parris Island has two recruit stores, according to depot spokesperson 1st Lt. Bryan McDonnell. “The stores are supplied by an independent warehouse and the items are sold to recruits at a reduced rate,” he wrote in an email Wednesday afternoon.

The stores are designed to streamline purchasing and limit impact on training time while reducing costs for recruits.

According to the indictment, the scheme can be traced as far back as January 2017, and allegedly continued by mail, after Chambers was transferred in March to the Florida base.

Chambers will “be charged elsewhere,” according to the indictment.

“The case is pending an Article 32 hearing which has yet to be scheduled,” Hollenbeck said. At such a hearing, officials can decide whether to send a case to a court-martial.

Byson, Harrison Jr. and Brutus are scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday at Charleston’s U.S. District Courthouse on Broad Street, according to court records.

———

©2018 The Island Packet (Hilton Head, S.C.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

WATCH NEXT:

Vice President Mike Pence repeated President Donald Trump's claim that "ISIS has been defeated" in Syria on Wednesday just hours after several U.S. service members were killed by an ISIS suicide bomber in Manbij, Syria.

Read More Show Less
Soldiers, family and community gathered in Morehead City to render honors and witness the transfer and memorial of U.S. Army Sgt James Slape Nov. 9-11, 2018. Slape will hold a temporary resting place in Morehead City before ultimately moving to Arlington Cemetery. Slape supported Operations Resolute Support and Freedom Sentinel in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt Leticia Samuels, North Carolina National Guard)

An ISIS suicide bomber killed four Americans in Manbij, Syria, on Wednesday.

Read More Show Less

Comedian Steve Carell will be starring in an upcoming Netflix show about the new Space Force that's being described as a "workplace comedy."

Yeah, that's right. The Office, but in freaking space.

Read More Show Less
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., left, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., center, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, are disagreeing with President Donald Trump's sudden decision to pull all 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria, during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. (Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite)

Sen. Lindsey Graham essentially laid the deaths of the unknown number of U.S. soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in Manbij, Syria, on Wednesday at the feet of President Donald Trump during a hearing on Capitol Hill, Bloomberg News reports.

Read More Show Less