Naval Research Lab Employee Pleads Guilty to Computer Theft

By Bill Miller
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 1, 2008; 1:04 PM

A former computer systems administrator for the Naval Research Laboratory pleaded guilty today to a federal charge stemming from the theft of nearly 19,000 pieces of computer and office equipment.

Victor R. Papagno stole the items from 1997 until August 2007, while employed at the facility in Southwest Washington, prosecutors said. He routinely took home computer and office equipment, stealing goods worth at least $120,000, they said.

Among other things, prosecutors said, Papagno has admitted taking more than 100 personal computers, 167 computer keyboards, 275 computer mice, 80 computer monitors, 187 printer toner cartridges, and nearly 5,000 pieces of computer software.

Prosecutors said Papagno took the items to benefit himself and friends. Most of the equipment has been recovered by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service after an August 2007 search of Papagno's home, prosecutors said.

Papagno, 40, of Hughesville, Md., worked 18 years for the Navy, starting out as a computer specialist. He pleaded guilty at the federal courthouse in Washington to a charge of theft of government property. Under sentencing guidelines, he faces a likely term of 12 to 18 months in prison. U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman set his sentencing for Dec. 22.

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