FOX CROSSING, Wis. (WBAY) - Two former employees of Valley Packaging have been arrested in connection to the theft of thousands of diapers intended for needy families.
Jason Havel (left) and John Forbes (right)
During a news conference Tuesday morning, police identified the suspects as Jason Havel, 42, Appleton, and John Forbes, 52, Neenah.
Havel was a former shipping manager at Valley Packaging, police said.
The diapers were stolen from a warehouse in Fox Crossing used by the United Way of the Fox Cities.
Police say the thieves took about 1,700 cases of diapers worth $45,000 from the building on Valley Road sometime between January 3 and February 13.
Police said Tuesday that investigators have recovered eight pallets of diapers, but they did not have an exact number of cases.
The suspects were reselling the diapers, police said. According to Lt. Scott Blashka with the Fox Crossing Police Department, "I think that it was a surprise to a lot of people that this amount of diapers were being taken and that there was actually that big of a resale value, a market for them. Over the years of seeing a lot of different thefts, diapers is definitely strange."
Officers say many tips came in after the story was reported by local news outlets, and two of those tips helped lead them to the suspects.
"Without either of the tips, we would not be standing up here right now telling you we have two people in custody," said Lt. Scott Blashka, Fox Crossing Police Dept. "They were very important that the public provided that information."
One of the tips led investigators to diapers at a location in Ashwaubenon.
"Investigators began working the leads which ultimately connected to one another and led to an employee of Valley Packaging," says a statement from police.
"After interviewing this current employee along with a former employee, investigators were able to confirm their involvement with this case was along with several other unreported thefts."
Havel and Forbes were arrested Friday and are being held in the Winnebago County Jail on charges of felony Theft.
Police say additional details will be released when criminal complaints are filed by the District Attorney's Office.
The Fox Crossing warehouse was a temporary location for the diaper bank. They are moving to a new facility that has more security.
Last year, the United Way distributed 300,000 diapers to 875 families across Northeast Wisconsin.
Businesses and community members have made donations to replenish the diaper bank.