Army investigates heist of $2M in White Sands Missile Range ball bearings


NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A request has been made for the bank account associated with an El Paso construction company to be seized as part of a United States Army investigation into the theft of nearly $2 million worth of nickel ball bearings from White Sands Missile Range. A newly-released U.S. District Court affidavit states that an account opened by EGL Construction was made with the sole purpose of holding the funds for the sale of the metal.

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The affidavit states the Major Procurement Fraud Unit of the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command received information from a source that a United States Army civilian employee by the name of Randolph Brady and EGL owner, Mario Escobedo, worked together in the removal of four tanks of nickel ball-bearings scrapped from a facility on White Sands Missile Range. The metal was then sold to Albuquerque company Acme Iron and Metals.

Brady worked as the Army Test and Evaluation Command Director at White Sands Missile Range.

The affidavit states each tank contained approximately 58,000 pounds of 3/8 inch nickel ball bearings. The tanks were taken on March 19 and 20. A review of Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) emails from Brady included information on the removal of the tanks and preparation of the removal. According to DISA officials, DISA provides the Department of Defense Email System used by Brady. There were no DISA employees involved in this situation.

Financial records revealed an account with WestStar Bank under the name of Escobedo and his wife Elizabeth received five wire transfers made from Acme Iron and Metals for $849,334 between the period of March, 31 and June 16.

In a July 29 interview with Mario Escobedo, it was confirmed that the ball bearings were from the Large Blast Thermal Simulator at White Sands Missile Range; there was a total amount of $1 million in transfers from Acme Iron and Metals; Brady had directed the transfer of the ball bearings; the WestStar bank account was opened solely for the purpose of holding funds from the sale of the metal.

As of yet, Brady and Escobedo have not been charged with theft.

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