An investigation is underway after more than 100 night vision goggles disappeared from a maintenance facility at the Fort Hood military base near Killeen, Texas, officials confirmed to NPR.
"Fort Hood is investigating missing Monocular Night Vision Devices from a maintenance facility at Fort Hood, Texas reported on July 12," spokesperson Maj. Marion Nederhoed wrote in an email. "Currently, the missing equipment has no immediate impact on unit readiness."
Officials are asking anyone with relevant information to call the Fort Hood criminal investigators tips line at 254-287-2722.
News of the missing goggles had been circulating on Facebook for several days, thanks to a viral post from a popular social media account called U.S. Army W.T.F! moments.
Earlier this week, the account shared a screenshot of what appeared to be a text that began, "Yesterday ELM had 106x NVGs stolen from their secured storage facility."
It went on to say that there would be a search for the missing items, which "would likely be a box containing the NVGs." NPR has not independently confirmed the Facebook post's authenticity.
"ELM'' likely refers to the unidentified unit's electronics communications maintenance facility, the Army Times explains. It adds that night vision devices are usually stored behind a vault door in a unit's arms room, and may be more vulnerable to theft at less secure repair facilities.
It's not clear how much the missing goggles are worth. Commercially available night vision goggles range in price from several hundred to several thousand dollars each.
If the goggles were in fact stolen, this wouldn't be the first such incident in recent memory.
A former soldier at North Carolina's Fort Bragg was charged in 2019 with stealing more than $2 million worth of property — including 43 night vision devices — over the course of a year and a half.