About $250,000 worth of N95 masks and surgical gloves was discovered stolen on Saturday from an Oahu health care company that has been distributing them to its health care workers and selling them at cost to first-responders across the state, the owner told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser today.
The personal protective equipment, which is in high in demand across the world, had been kept in a separate storage area near the Kapiolani Boulevard offices of Wilson Care Group, owner and president Shelley Wilson said.
The thief or thieves were only able to take half of the medical grade N95 and “barrier grade” masks — and about one-fourth of Wilson Care Group’s gloves. The thief would have needed “a couple of moving vans” to make off with all of the inventory. The remaining inventory has since been moved to an undisclosed location that only Wilson knows.
Wilson on Saturday went to check on a new delivery that had yet to be inventoried when she discovered the theft.
“Anybody in the entire world is looking for these products,” Wilson said. “Nobody knew what a N95 mask was six months ago, five months ago. Now it’s a priceless item. Now there’s not enough supply for all of the health care people who need it, let alone all the first responders.”
There is no way to identify the stolen personal protective equipment, which Wilson began buying months ago from different manufacturers around the world for use by the company’s nurses and other health care providers — and are now providing to first responders at cost.
“You could sell it on eBay and make a fortune,” she said.
A locksmith recently changed the locks on the storage area, but the locksmith and the company are not suspects, Wilson said.
But the storage area and its contents were known to various delivery people who brought in additional equipment, she said.