Five arrested, more than $300,000 seized in Florida cargo theft ring bust

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Updated Jul 15, 2015
As this map from FreightWatch International’s report on 2014 cargo theft shows, Florida is one of the hottest spots in the country for cargo thefts to occur.As this map from FreightWatch International’s report on 2014 cargo theft shows, Florida is one of the hottest spots in the country for cargo thefts to occur.

Five individuals have been arrested in connection to a cargo theft ring in Florida with a warrant out for the arrest of a sixth individual.

According to a release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the department received information about a preacher suspected of stealing Macy’s merchandise from a tractor-trailer he drove.

Alexander Nealy, 36 of Plant City, Fla., who is a former DeSoto County Sheriff’s deputy and Titusville and Cocoa Police officer, was identified as the preacher. Nealy was employed as a truck driver for SalSon Logistics, a trucking contractor for Macy’s in Florida.

Detectives served a search warrant on a storage unit owned by Nealy in which they found 272 boxes of stolen Macy’s merchandise, valued at approximately $135,800, and more than $59,000 worth of Bloomingdale’s merchandise, for a total of $267,900 in stolen goods. Surveillance footage at one of the storage units revealed Nealy and another person loading and unloading stolen boxes.

The merchandise included high-end designer purses, shoes, fragrances and clothing. The FHP obtained an arrest warrant for Nealy, charging him with felony cargo theft, and he was arrested June 25 at his church in Tampa.

Two other SalSon drivers, Roberto Barahona, 45 of Tampa, and Jorge Salazar Brito, 27 of Tampa, were each arrested for felony cargo theft. A search of Barahona’s apartment resulted in the seizure $30,000 worth of stolen merchandise, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Three more suspects were identified, two of which have been arrested, in connection with the case.

Patrick Brown, 35 of Lakeland, Fla., Jerome McCord, 35, of Lakeland, and Timothy Waring, 30 of Lakeland, were found by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office to be involved in “burglarizing” Nealy’s storage units and selling the merchandise. Detectives learned Nealy, Brown, McCord and Waring worked together to stage and then have Nealy falsely report the burglaries to police. Nealy told authorities he had purchased the items on Craigslist.

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McCord was arrested June 5, and was originally charged with violation of probation, possession of marijuana and meth, and possession of paraphernalia. Detectives added a charge of dealing in stolen property.

Brown was arrested July 2 and has been charged with non-payment of child support and dealing in stolen property.

Waring was previously arrested on June 5 on drug charges but was released on bond. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest for dealing in stolen property.

In all, during the investigation detectives recovered more than $300,000 worth of merchandise stolen from Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s. Macy’s reported an additional retail loss of $355,000 in May and June 2015 during Barahona’s and Brito’s organized theft.