If you’ve ever shipped an item of value, listen up. You pay for those services and have a reasonable expectation your package will get delivered to its final destination. But a Burlington man tells NBC Connecticut; his package was stolen from the FedEx Ground shipping facility in South Windsor last December.
Stanley Solkowski tells Troubleshooter Jill Konopka someone working inside the facility at the time took his package. Police in South Windsor confirm those same details to NBC Connecticut.
While Solkowski hopes investigators can track down his stolen, sentimental high-end Italian “Perazzi” shotgun, he blames the shipping company and wants FedEx Ground to make him whole again.
Stanley Solkowski has a message for the package thief, "Please return my shotgun. I have 25,000 registered targets with it. And it fits me very well. It’s one of a kind, I can't replace it."
Solkowski's gun disappeared from the South Windsor FedEx facility in mid-December and police believe it’s an inside job. Stolen by a man, investigators say was a sub-contractor for FedEx Ground. Investigators are currently trying to track that suspect down, and find Stanley’s stolen gun.
Deputy Chief of Police, Scott Custer told the Troubleshooters, “It may have been sold to someone without their knowledge or perhaps someone bought it, knowing it's a stolen weapon. May have been hidden or discarded, but we're very interested in getting any firearm off the street that shouldn't be there and to certainly get justice for this victim."
According to investigators, the suspect admitted to his employer he took Stanley Solkowski’s package, and a second separate package he was questioned about by another police department.
“But denied knowing there was a firearm in one of them. And while that may be true, we're looking to speak to him,” said Deputy Police Chief Scott Custer.
Solkowski initially sent his single-shot trap gun worth $4,000 to $5,000 to "MoneyMaker GunCraft" in Omaha, Nebraska for upgrades, last October.
“MoneyMaker Guncraft” shipped it back two months later.
Solkowski told the Troubleshooters, “I had it polished, and a custom rib put on, and everything was progressing normally until December 12, 2016.”
That is when Stanley's gun arrived at FedEx Ground South Windsor, confirmed by this tracking receipt, but then vanished.
South Windsor Police tell the Troubleshooters they requested surveillance video from FedEx Ground.
Deputy Chief Custer added, "That's important to us, to make the criminal case, obviously. I think we have enough without it. But we certainly are looking for two packages that were stolen. He says that's the only two, but there may be others. And video evidence will confirm or deny that.”
Solkowski believes FedEx Ground should make him whole.
“The package wasn't mislabeled, it's not damaged on a conveyor belt, it wasn't left on a stoop in someone's home. So, I filed a claim immediately with Fed Ex and it comes back denied," he said.
Konopka questioned Solkowski, “And they only want to give you $100?
Solkowski responded, “It could be, but it happened inside their facility. It wasn't a damaged good or a box that fell off their truck. It was a box that was stolen inside their building and now they don't want to take responsibility for that act. It is absolutely ridiculous."
In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for FedEx Ground told NBC Connecticut, “FedEx Ground takes these matters very seriously, and the individual involved in this incident is no longer providing services on behalf of the company,” according to Nikki Mendicino.
Mendicino also referred NBC Connecticut to its companywide tariff outlining terms and conditions for declared value on items they ship.
Plus, how claims are paid out. Noting, "In this case, the shipper declined to declare an increased value and pay the associated fees,” added Mendicino.
"MoneyMaker" Guncraft shipped the gun back, but for reasons they can't explain, Stan's package was not insured on their end.
"We've been in business well over 50 years and this is the first gun we've had stolen and we ship thousands of guns every year and we've never had a problem,” Mike Bruening, manager of “MoneyMaker Guncraft, said.
Police are adamant about speaking to the man in question , because they know he has the answers they need.
Chief Custer stated, "And hear his side, perhaps he can aid us in retrieving that weapon. Certainly, if this is an unforeseen theft from their facility, I would think any corporation would certainly want to go the extra mile to help out, and certainly to help a customer who seemed to do everything right."
The Troubleshooters tried asking FedEx Ground specifics about Stanley's and the police department’s questions with no response.
They also declined to tell NBC Connecticut what contracted company the employee in question once worked for.
State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are also investigating.
Tips for anyone shipping items going forward:
Read the fine print before sending your items on their way, no matter what shipper you use.
Double check the value of default insurance and declare and-or insure your valuables for more if they're worth it.