Water bottles and other water containers are among the items stolen from Starbucks packaging factory in North Carolina

The theft of a water bottle from a North Carolina manufacturing plant has become a national symbol for a series of thefts at Starbucks facilities across the country.

More than 1,500 items were stolen from a manufacturing facility in Winston-Salem, N.C., over the past three weeks, including more than 800 water bottles, a water dispenser and other items, the company said.

In the past two weeks, a total of 5,100 water bottles and water dispensers have been stolen from its Wilmington, N., facility, according to company spokesman John C. Miller.

The total value of the items, which were not immediately available, includes water dispensing equipment, a refrigeration unit, two refrigerators, two gas containers, a refrigerator, a microwave oven, a wall timer and a dishwasher, according, Miller.

Starbucks said it has identified approximately 1,000 employees in North America who have been affected.

A Starbucks representative said the company has made every effort to provide employees with a safe work environment and will continue to support them as they work to recover.