NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An outrageous theft inspired an amazing donation and it means good news for a soldier serving overseas and dozens of his comrades-in-arms.
CBS 2 was happy to play a role in making it happen.
It started out as an unpatriotic pilfering from an air cargo facility at John F. Kennedy Airport.
Postal inspectors charged Terrence Ralph earlier this month with stealing items from packages being shipped to troops overseas, including an Invicta watch that was supposed to be going to Germany. It was intended for Lt. Gregory Wholean of the U.S. Army.
In Hollywood, Fla., the CEO of the watch company, Eyal Lalo, saw the story on CBSNewYork.com and immediately wanted to replace the stolen watch.
But he had a problem.
“We didn’t know who the soldier was, what watch he had, or how we were going to get the package directly and insure that it gets to him this time around,” Lalo said.
So Lalo sent CBS 2’s Tony Aiello a tweet asking for help. Aiello connected him with Donna Harris of the Postal Inspection Service.
Harris put the watch company in touch with the soldier and the CEO decided to send a watch to Lt. Wholean and his entire platoon — 48 watches for young men and women who do the dangerous work of explosive ordinance disposal.
“We have a lot of respect for what these guys do,” Lalo said.
Tuesday in Florida, the watches were inspected, packaged and shipped under the careful supervision of postal inspectors, who will make sure they get delivered this time.
Difficult logistics kept CBS 2 from getting an interview with Lt. Wholean, but he told the watch company his platoon is thrilled to be receiving the donation.
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