A shipping container containing more than six million medical gloves was stolen from a supplier in Florida on Sunday night in a swift move that left three hospital systems grappling with the pandemic without some of the crucial equipment they expected.
The gloves, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, were delivered Friday evening to Medgluv, the supplier, at its office in Coral Springs, Fla., About 40 miles north of Miami. The gloves were 12 days late when delivered by the manufacturer to Malaysia, Medgluv vice president of sales and marketing Rick Grimes said on Tuesday.
“That’s why hospitals, for lack of a better term, were asking” for the gloves, he said.
The container was parked at the Medgluv loading dock on a chassis, Mr Grimes said, waiting to be unloaded next week. The trucking company had asked the owner of Medgluv if it could be delivered after the end of the working day, which was “a bit unusual”, he said, although the owner accepted delivery after the hours. normal hours because Medgluv has been waiting for the products for so long. .
Around 11:40 p.m. on Sunday, according to surveillance footage, a semi-truck stopped at the container with a white van.
People in the trucks hung the container on the truck “like it was any other kind of day,” Grimes said. “These guys were in no rush.”
They moved the container forward slightly and fumbled for a while with its doors, which had been opened but pushed against the dock so that the cargo could only be reached if the container was moved or the loading door of the building was open, Mr. Grimes said.
They closed the doors and left. Mr Grimes said the operation took them “less than six minutes”.
Mr. Grimes contacted the Coral Springs Police Department about the theft, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation about trademark concerns, if the stolen goods were exported.
At around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, the police department told him the container was found “completely empty” in the Miami area, Mr. Grimes said. Police did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
As to who took the gloves, Mr. Grimes said, “that’s the million dollar question”.
He said he did not believe the operation was an “internal job” involving anyone within Medgluv, which has seven employees. Workers in the trucking and shipping industry would have known what was in the container, Grimes said, adding that the truck was “a very nice semi-truck”.
Competitors and other companies in the healthcare industry have contacted Grimes to inquire about the theft. “They were all shocked,” he said, noting that he told them, “If this happens to us, it can happen to anyone.”
Although Medgluv was frustrated with the loss, Mr Grimes, whose three sisters work in the healthcare industry, said he was saddened to have to call hospitals waiting for the gloves.
“It is heartbreaking to know that healthcare workers who do their best to take care of others” will be affected by the theft, he said.