HARTFORD, Conn. — A scientist who pleaded guilty to taking sensitive documents from a Connecticut military contractor to his native China was sentenced on Thursday to 2 1/2 years in prison he has already served.

Former United Technologies Corp. engineer Yu Long was sentenced in federal court in Hartford.

Federal prosecutors said the 39-year-old Chinese citizen, a permanent resident of the U.S., worked on military jet engines at the United Technologies Research Center in East Hartford and took numerous stolen documents from the company to China. The contents of those documents were not disclosed.

Long's lawyers acknowledged that he illegally took proprietary materials from United Technologies and traveled back and forth to China with the documents. But they said he didn't turn over the documents to anyone in China.

"In reality ... this case is more soap opera than theft, more melodrama than international intrigue," his lawyer William Dow III wrote in a brief prepared for sentencing.

Federal prosecutors said Long's work at United Technologies involved F119 jet engines used in Air Force F-22 Raptors and F135 engines used in Air Force F-35 Lightning II aircraft.

Authorities said Long was recruited by state-run universities in China in 2013 and 2014 and leveraged information he obtained from United Technologies in his efforts to get a job in China. Prosecutors said he left United Technologies in 2014 and took a job in China at the Shenyang Institute of Automation, a state-run university affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Science.

In 2013, before leaving for China, prosecutors say, Long emailed several documents to the director of the Shenyang Institute of Automation, including a cover page of a United Technologies presentation on distortion modeling. While in China, he accessed a United Technologies external hard drive that he illegally kept, authorities said.

Long was arrested in November 2014 after being caught with proprietary documents from another defense contractor, Rolls-Royce, while attempting to fly from Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey to China, authorities said.

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