Troutville Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Stolen Night Vision Goggle Components

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Steven Rosine, a former employee at what was then a Harris Corporation production facility in Roanoke that manufactures night vision devices used by the U.S. military, pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Roanoke to stealing night vision devices and other component parts, and selling them over the internet.

Elbit Systems of America, part of an Israeli defense contractor, bought the factory from Harris Corp., in September 2019.

Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar and Special Agent in Charge Raymond Villanueva for the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C. field office, made the announcement.

“This defendant used his position with a trusted government contractor to steal critical defense products and parts to sell for his own profit,” Acting United States Attorney Daniel P. Bubar said today. “I am grateful for the hard work of Homeland Security Investigations, the Roanoke County Police and our prosecution team for investigating Rosine’s thefts and bringing him to justice today.”

The Elbit Systems of America night vision production plant is located in Roanoke County.

“Rosine chose to steal regulated defense materials used to make military equipment and sell it out on the open market to make himself a profit without regard for who may end up receiving the materials on the other end or for what purpose they may be used,” said Special Agent in Charge Raymond Villanueva for the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C. field office. “Homeland Security Investigations is dedicated to protecting our national security by investigating those who seek to divert sensitive materials for personal gain.”

Rosine, 47, waived his right to be indicted and pleaded guilty yesterday to a one count Information charging him with interstate transportation of stolen property. At sentencing, Rosine faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

According to court documents, from 1996 to 2019, Rosine was employed as a production engineer at Harris Corporation’s night vision manufacturing facility in Roanoke, Va. During his employment Rosine had access to night vision devices and various components used in device manufacturing.

Between approximately 2010 and 2014, Rosine stole approximately 66 pounds of a soft metal, indium, a crucial element used in the night vision manufacturing process. He sold the stolen indium on the Internet to a company in California for his own personal financial gain, yielding a profit of $51,622.

Beginning in 2012 and continuing through 2018, Rosine stole various image intensifier tubes, night vision systems, and component parts from Harris Corporation. Rosine listed these items for sale on an Internet website. Rosine maintained a dedicated PayPal account, into which he deposited more than $119,000 in proceeds from his illicit sale of night vision devices.

A majority of the night vision devices sold by Rosine are classified as third generation image intensifier tubes and were manufactured using classified production data. They are categorized by the Department of State, Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) as “Defense Articles,” which are subject to control under the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and the jurisdiction of the Department of State.