A former national guardsman pretending to be a U.S. Army soldier convinced an officer to give him a sophisticated laser sight for military rifles before he was caught hours later on Fort Gordon base in Georgia with a land mine, several grenades and night vision devices, prosecutors said Wednesday. Federal prosecutors said in a criminal complaint that the man falsely pretended to be an Army master sergeant on Tuesday, and sought to steal the infrared laser targeting sight. He was wearing a full combat uniform, including rank and insignia, when he was stopped at Fort Gordon by military police and questioned about his activities, according to the complaint. After he gave them consent to search his vehicle, authorities said they found several grenades and the land mine, among other equipment. According to the complaint, he told investigators he was able to obtain the laser sight by telling a captain in the base’s military police office that he was a master sergeant in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division and that he needed it to train a soldier. A Fort Gordon spokesman did not know if the intruder used a military ID, either fake or real, to get onto the base. But a spokesperson said investigators do not see sa terrorism angle.

In an unrelated incident involving ID problems, Arlington (Virginia) County police and federal authorities are investigating a series of recent thefts from office buildings that they think have been carried out by people who have been posing as legitimate workers with fake identity badges. Authorities said they think the suspect or suspects have been hanging around entrances to office buildings, including those that house government offices, and have been gaining entry by following workers inside or being allowed in. Law enforcement officials said it appears the thefts target personal possessions — such as wallets, purses, credit cards and cash — belonging to those who work in the offices. Law enforcement agencies urged people to use caution when allowing anyone into secure buildings and to always ensure that people wearing badges scan themselves in. Arlington police said they are looking into the cases along with the U.S. Secret Service. A spokesman for the Secret Service declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation.

Are military posts and government facilities doing enough to strengthen access controls? Email zaludreport@bnpmedia.com