HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – A South Florida company has stepped up after it found out that care packages being sent to service men and women were being stolen from during a stop at a New York airport.
On Tuesday, Hollywood based Invicta packaged up 45 designer watches to be delivered to troops overseas.
The investigation into the thefts began earlier this year when reports started coming in that packages bound for soldiers had been opened and picked over.
“Parcels were received in Germany and they had been rifled. The Postal Inspection Service was notified and through varying investigative techniques, we realize Mr. Ralph was rifling the mail,” said Donna Harris with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
When postal inspectors interviewed 41-year old Terrance Ralph, a cargo worker at John F. Kennedy airport, about the thefts they noticed he was wearing a watch that had been reported stolen from a package. It was an Invicta. In addition to the watch, Ralph allegedly also stole electronic goods and a bracelet. Packages from family, friends and businesses were allegedly targeted. He was arrested May 15th.
When Invicta heard about what happened, decided to replace the watch that had been taken and more.
“As soon as we heard about it we thought it was a very sad situation to know that an actual cargo worker was actually involved in stealing of the merchandise to the soldiers that were out there,” said Invicta president and CEO Eyal Lalo.
Tuesday’s shipment will replace the watch allegedly stolen by Ralph – the rest will be gifts to the soldiers in his platoon.
“We’re very selective about the watches we are sending out. We happen to have a collection called the Coalition Force line of watches,” said Lalo. “After we spoke to the Postal Service, we were able to identify which watch model was stolen but we said we’d take it a step further and we’re going to send out watches which are part of our Coalition Force, a military inspired line, which will be a better match.”
Lalo said the value of the watches being donated to platoon is in the neighborhood of $70,000.