Polk County, FL (WFLA) – A Tampa pastor is among five arrested for stealing merchandise meant to be delivered to department stores across Florida. Alexander Nealy of Plant City is pastor of Bay City Refuse Worldwide Ministries, Inc. in Tampa. Besides being a former police officer, he also drove a truck for SalSon Logistics, a contractor for Macy’s. Back in May, Macy’s Organized Retail Crime task force members contacted the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in reference to missing items off a delivery for their Winter Haven store. Fast-forward to last June, and six suspects had been named as part of an organized theft ring. Strangely, the way detectives met up with Pastor Alex Nealy is by him called law enforcement on himself. “When Pastor Nealy realizes his warehouse has been broken into, he calls the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office to report a burglary and theft of his stolen property that he stole from Macy’s and Bloomingdales,,” Sheriff Grady Judd said, adding, “You can’t make this stuff up.”
Detectives know of $668,000 worth of merchandise stolen by Nealy and his accomplices. Sheriff Judd said select goods were meticulously picked out of boxes meant for store delivery, then sealed back and delivered to the store. What was taken was kept in a storage unit owned by Nealy.
“I am absolutely mortified that a man who pretends to be a pastor of The Word – someone who leads people in his church and in his community who have faith and trust in him- is nothing more than an organized criminal,” Judd said at a Friday press conference.
Alex Nealy, Roberto Barahona and Jorge Brito were all arrested for Felony Cargo Theft and booked in the Hillsborough County jail. All have posted bond. Patrick Brown and Jerome McCord of Lakeland were arrested as part of the “burglarizing” of Nealy’s storage unit. Another suspect, Timothy Waring is at large. If you have any information on his whereabouts, you’re urged to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS.