By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 23, 2008
Victor Papagno had two loves, federal prosecutor say: computers and
For the Navy, it was a devastating combination.
Over 10 years, authorities said, the computer technician with
obsessive-compulsive disorder ran one of the biggest computer theft
scams in local history. He stole more than 19,000 pieces of computer
equipment from the offices of the Naval Research Laboratory in Southwest
The loot took up so much space that Papagno built a 2,775-square-foot
garage to store it all. It cost the Navy more than $150,000 to inventory
the stash of keyboards, monitors, floppy disks, hard drives, cables,
batteries and a device to make security badges. When investigators came
to haul the equipment away from Papagno's Charles County home, they
needed an 18-wheeler.
He got away with stealing computer components from a secure Navy
facility by walking out the front door with the booty in boxes -- an
average of five items a day over a decade. The Navy never caught on. The
tip that brought him down last year came from his estranged wife,
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