Man arrested for stealing military property

El Centro

Man arrested for stealing military property

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EL CENTRO, Calif. (13 On Your Side) - An El Centro man is behind bars tonight after police found him with stolen military property.

Officials are still investigating how 46-year-old Martin Gonzalez stole military flares.

The Naval Air Facility in El Centro confirms the casings are not from their facility, but do belong to the military.

Officials also tell 13 On Your Side - Gonzalez was previously employed by the Yuma Proving Ground and could have possibly stolen the flares from there.

Imperial County Sheriff's Department received a tip from a confidential source about a man with stolen military property.

After eight days of investigation, deputies arrested 46-year-old Martin Garcia, yesterday morning.

Officials tell 13 On Your Side - they spoke to a witness who was able to confirm Gonzalez had the military flares.

Deputies could not disclose where they discovered the stolen item - but they do tell us they found 35 aircraft carrier measure flares - empty casings found inside aircrafts.

According to officials - Gonzalez was employed with the Yuma Proving Grounds last year and could have had access to the flares there. But they continue to investigate to determine where they really came from.  

The Naval Air Facility says the casings are worth a total of almost $800.

Officials say - Gonzalez was not using the flares as weapons but as a way to make money.

"Based on investigation, we believe he was going to sell this property as scrap metal," says Sgt. Jimmy Duran with the Imperial County Sheriff's Department,  "besides the primary purpose the military has designated for them I don't there's any other use of these items other than scrap."

Gonzalez is facing stolen property charges. His bond is set at $20,000.

His case has been submitted to the District Attorney for review and prosecution. If convicted, Gonzalez could face up to a year behind bars.