Military: Psst! Wanna Hot Flak Jacket?

The undercover scheme had an apt name: Operation Rip-stop. Federal agents and the Naval Investigative Service last week issued 65 arrest warrants for Marines and civilians who had ripped off an estimated $500,000 worth of military supplies from Camp Pendleton, near San Diego. Authorities estimate that theft of military equipment costs the Government $200 million a year.

Posing as clerks at a bogus Oceanside, Calif., store called Golden State Surplus, authorities bought pilfered flak jackets, combat knives, .45-cal. magazines and sleeping bags from Camp Pendleton Marines for 10% to 20% of their cost. "Marines were quite literally breaking down the door...

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