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Deputies: Guardsman took $150K in equipment

BAKER COUNTY, Fla. – The Baker's County Sheriff's Office arrested a 27-year-old member of the Army National Guard who is accused of stealing over $150,000 in sensitive military equipment, deputies said.

Alan Tanner Jr. was named as a suspect in two burglaries since Nov. 1 where firearms were taken. One of the burglaries was in Baker County and the other was in Charlton County, deputies said.

Investigators zeroed in on Tanner as the suspect because one of the homeowners, who happens to be Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson's son-in-law, saw Tanner on his property and felt something wasn't right.

After a joint investigation, the stolen firearms were discovered at Tanner's Glen St. Mary home, deputies said. While collecting the stolen firearms, Baker County Sheriff's investigators discovered several pieces of stolen military equipment at the home. That equipment included 28 pairs of night vision goggles.

Tanner, an active member of the Army National Guard, is accused of stealing over $150,000 in sensitive military equipment. No military weapons were found in Tanner's home.

"I can tell you that there were no firearms or explosives or anything of that nature. It was primarily night vision, electronics type items that were taken," said Maj. Gerald Gonzalez of the Baker County Sheriff's Office. "I'm sure it is not night vision that you can go buy at an outdoor store."

Tanner's unit out of Camp Blanding collected the stolen property and began a separate investigation into the theft, deputies said.

Dobson said Tanner is well known in the Baker County community, and his father runs a local auto parts store. Dobson said Tanner knew him and his son-in-law, which was a big factor in him being caught so quickly.

Tanner is currently being held in the Baker County Detention Center on a $315,000 bond for the charges that occurred in Baker County.

The Clay County Sheriff's Office is also investigating the theft of the military equipment from Camp Blanding, which is in Clay County.

The Florida National Guard issued a statement Thursday about Tanner's arrest:

"We can confirm that the man charged in the theft of the sensitive items is a Florida National Guard Soldier. The investigation is ongoing."

Carol Watkins family has run Army Navy Depot Inc. for more than 25 years and said that she wasn't shocked when she heard about someone allegedly stealing military from Camp Blanding. She said that her store is quite familiar with the problem. 

"Night vision can cost up to $200 and $300 and $400. It just depends on where you get them from. And that's why we don't carry them in the store," Watkins said. "We had to tie it down because two of them were stolen out of the store. So in order not to lose, it we tied it up so that we could still display it and not have it stolen from us."