Wanted: Man who allegedly stole $1M worth of COVID-19 tests

Associated Press

Santa Ana, Calif. — Authorities are seeking a Southern California warehouse manager who is accused of stealing more than $1 million worth of COVID-19 tests from his employer's clinic.

Carlitos Peralta, 33, had access to his employer's shipping and delivery system, according to Santa Ana police. His employer has seven warehouses nationwide that are used to store and ship COVID-19 tests to customers that include clinics, pop-up testing sites, schools and hotels.

Carlitos Peralta is accused of stealing more than $1 million worth of COVID-19 tests from his employer's clinic.

Peralta diverted nearly 100 separate shipments from multiple warehouses to his home, police said.

Police told the Southern California News Group that officers went to Peralta's home on Feb. 9 to arrest him — following a tip from his employer about the thefts — but he appears to be on the run. The police department asked the public Thursday to contact the agency with information about his whereabouts.

The rerouting of the tests may have begun as far back as December, Cpl. Maria Lopez, a police spokesperson, told the Southern California News Group. Authorities would not say whether any of the tests have been recovered.

Lopez said Peralta put down a coworker's name as the sender of one of the shipments that went to his home.

“That employee got a notification and was like, ‘Wait, what?’ and that’s how they started investigating,” Lopez told the Southern California News Group.