Officials: Suspect Caught Wearing Stolen Watch When Interviewed By Inspectors

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A cargo worker at John F. Kennedy Airport is accused of stealing from care packages meant for U.S. troops serving overseas.

Investigators said the theft was discovered when the suspect was caught wearing one of the stolen items.

His job was to handle them with care, but postal inspectors said Terrance Ralph, 41, was helping himself to items meant for soldiers by picking through packages. Packages from family, friends and businesses were allegedly targeted.

“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,” Donna Harris, of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

The investigation included undercover surveillance to try to catch Ralph in the act.

Inspectors said he stole electronic goods, a bracelet and a particular watch made by the fashion brand Invicta.

“Postal inspectors interviewed Mr. Ralph yesterday — May 15 — and, at that time, he was noticed to be wearing one of the items that was previously listed as being stolen — that was that Invicta watch,” Harris said. “He was arrested.”

A thief allegedly targeting packages going to troops doesn’t sit well with most people.

“That’s an error if he did that. If it’s true, it’s an error,” said one man.

“It breaks trust with the people,” said another man.

Ralph’s employer, Cargo Air Services, said it is fully cooperating with the investigation and has suspended Ralph without pay.

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