According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO), the UPS worker is accused of stealing $11,000 in cash from a package that was dropped off at the UPS store on 5337 N. Socrum Loop Road in Lakeland.
The victim, only identified as an 87-year-old Lakeland woman, reportedly mailed the package containing the cash after receiving several scam calls from someone claiming to be with the U.S. Social Security Office. Police said her family members realized she was being scammed the day after she had dropped off the package when they became aware of another phone call she received in which the caller demanded an additional $10,000.
The family prevented the second shipment and contacted UPS to have the first shipment stopped and the package returned. When the family received the package on February 26, 2020, they reportedly found it sealed inside another box and it no longer contained the money. They contacted the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to report the theft.
Investigators watched security footage from the UPS store in Lakeland, which allegedly showed the alleged worker receiving the package from the victim. He can purportedly be seen taking the box into a back room, opening it, removing the cash, and then re-sealing the package within a non-UPS box that he got from outside the store. The box was then prepped for shipment, the arrest report states.
The UPS worker was arrested on March 10 by Polk County police. He reportedly refused to tell investigators what he did with the money. It is not clear whether he is suspected to be the person who contacted the victim or whether an accomplice was purportedly involved, nor is it known if or when the victim will recover the lost funds.
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office reminded residents that the Social Security Administration will never call requesting cash be sent to them. Reports did not indicate what the scammer told the victim the funds were for.
“We ask those with elderly relatives to please reach out to them and warn them about these scams,” PCSO spokesperson Bruchey said. “Ask your relatives to contact you before they send money or provide credit card information to anyone. Also, we strongly recommend that people do not send cash through the mail or shipping companies.”
Grand theft is one of the most serious theft charges tried in Florida courts. Anyone accused of grand theft should immediately contact an experienced attorney who can assist them in avoiding a conviction and the maximum penalties for this offense.
South Florida Grand Theft Attorney