Air Force notebook PC thief gets six years in prison

Air Force notebook PC thief gets six years in prison

A military judge has sentenced an Air Force staff sergeant to six years in a military prison for the theft of four notebook PCs and two Palm Pilots from U.S. Central Command last summer.

Staff Sgt. Sheridan Ferrell II in late January had pled guilty to the charges. The service has also demoted the 33-year-old man to airman basic and will dishonorably discharge him when he is released from prison. Ferrell told the judge that he stole the computers to get back at his superiors for overlooking his candidacy for promotion.

The theft set off an investigation that brought more than 50 agents from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations to MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., marking the largest investigation in the base's history, an Air Force release said. The joint Central Command, located at the Tampa base, is overseeing war efforts in Afghanistan.

CENTCOM officials on Aug. 2 noticed that the computers, which contained sensitive information, were missing. One week later, clues led investigators Ferrell's home, where they found the computers.

Defense officials said no classified data leaked out as a result of the theft.

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