LAKELAND, FL (March 17, 2020) – According to an online news website news report, Polk County Sheriff's Deputies arrested a 34-year-old UPS employee after the employee allegedly found out that a large amount of money was in a package, took the cash, and then resealed the package. The box containing the large sum of money was dropped off at the UPS Store located at 5337 North Socrum Loop Road in Lakeland, Florida.
According to a statement made by the Polk County Sheriff's Office, an elderly woman from Lakeland, Florida, was a victim of a scam, and she put $11,000 into a shipping package and mailed the cash. The scammers stated to the woman that they were with the United States Social Security Office. No further details about the scam were given at this time.
According to the Polk County Sheriff's Deputies, family members of the scam victim discovered that their loved one had been scammed. According to the online news article, the family discovered the scam as the victim was attempting to package and send an additional $10,000. As the family discovered the scam, members of the victim's family stopped the second shipment and the contacts the UPS Store in order to stop the shipment of the first package and return the package to the victim. Upon receiving the first package, the package was opened, and the money was stolen. The family contacted the Polk County Sheriff's Office to report the theft.
The investigators reviewed footage from the various security camera located within the UPS store. The video showed a UPS store employee assisting the victim with her package. In the footage, the employee is seen moving the package into a back room, and then he opened the package, removed the money, resealed the packaging, and then the UPS Store employee prepared the package for shipment.
The suspect was arrested and now faces grand theft charges. The suspect has declined to tell law enforcement officers where he hid the $11,000 in cash.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office reminds people that the Social Security Administration does not call people and request that the individual send them money.
Florida Statute 812.014 Theft, Robbery, and Related Crimes Laws and Penalties
According to Florida Statute 812.014, it is illegal to intentionally steal property that has a value of $300 or more. The crime of Grand Theft is a felony offense in the State of Florida. If an individual is found guilty of Grand Theft, the convicted person faces time in prison, fines, probation, restitution, and a criminal record. In the State of Florida, whether a crime is a first-, second-, or third-degree charge will depend on the value of the property stolen.
- First-degree Grand Theft - (valuables stolen are worth more than $100,000 dollars, or cargo worth at least $50,000) First-degree Grand Theft is punishable for up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Second-degree Grand Theft - (valuables stolen are worth more than $20,000 dollars but less than $100,000) Second-degree Grand Theft is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years' probation, and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Third-degree Grand Theft (valuables stolen are worth more than $300 dollars but less than $20,000) Third-degree Grand Theft is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of not more than $5,000.