About 400 bulletproof vests destined for Ukraine have been stolen from a non-profit organization in New York City that is leading efforts to collect and ship strategic gear to people on the battlefield.
NEW YORK – About 400 bulletproof vests destined for Ukraine have been stolen from a non-profit organization in New York City that is leading efforts to collect and ship strategic gear to people on the battlefield, police said Wednesday.
Police say the used vests donated by local law enforcement agencies were taken from the offices of the Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America and the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America on Second Avenue in Manhattan.
NYPD Sergeant Edward Riley said police responded to the robbery call at 9:15 a.m. and were “informed that about 400 bullet-proof vests had been removed.”
A message seeking comment was left with the U.S. Ukrainian Congressional Committee.
Police in the New York City area have donated hundreds of closed bulletproof vests to charities supporting Ukrainian forces fighting Russian aggression.
The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office on Long Island said it had worked with the U.S. Ukrainian congressional committee to donate 450 used, discarded vests, but could not confirm that the vests were stolen.
The sheriff’s office stopped using the vest after five years, but officials say they are strong enough to provide protection in the war.
Vicki Distefano, a spokesman for Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Tullon Jr., said: “It’s reprehensible for anyone to enter a building to steal supplies and materials intended to help victims of this humanitarian crisis.”
Andrej Dobryansky, a spokesman for the Ukrainian congressional committee, said last week that the plan was to ship the donated gears to Poland and then transport them to Ukraine.
Officials say the items were probably used by civilian security and medical teams, including civilians who have joined the fight against Russian military forces, not Ukrainian soldiers themselves, officials said.