Byline: Scott Malone

NEW YORK — Call it grand-theft hosiery.
The North Carolina Orange County Sheriff’s Office is on the lookout for anyone trying to sell hot Gold Toe socks — 174,606 pairs of them to be exact.
Last week, two full trailers packed with socks were stolen from Great American Knitting Mills Inc.’s Mebane, N.C.-based distribution center. According to Bill Sheely, executive vice president of operations, the thieves stole tractors from a nearby lot, used them to ram through the fence that protects the distribution center and hauled off the 40-foot trailers at around 11 p.m. or midnight on March 2.
According to a press report, the abandoned trailers were later located empty.
While socks might seem like an unlikely choice of booty, James Williams, president and chief executive of the hosiery maker, said the company is taking the robbery quite seriously. Indeed, based on an average retail price of $7 to $8 a pair, the more than 14,500 dozen pairs of socks would be worth $1.2 million to $1.4 million, he estimated.
“The only thing I can say is that Gold Toe socks are very valuable,” he added.
The Orange Country Sheriff’s Office confirmed that it is investigating the theft, but the investigator assigned to the case was unavailable to comment as of press time. Williams said the company had never been the victim of a crime on this scale before.
“We feel ripped off,” he said. “It upsets our normal course of delivery. Something being stolen from you is a serious offense. We will find the perpetrator.”
Sheely said the socks in question had been destined for J.C. Penney Co. stores.