A mother of four who worked for US postal service has admitted to grabbing more than 6,000 gift and greeting cards filled with cash and checks in Wisconsin. She said she needed money to pay bills and take care of her children.
The residents of Wauwatosa in the Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, started complaining about not receiving their graduation, wedding, birthday and sympathy cards as early as last summer. The US Postal Inspection Service soon found out that the affected ZIP codes were assigned to one mail carrier, Ebony Lavonne Smith, 20. However, they still failed to catch the thief for about six month.
In January, the inspectors eventually decided to go to great lengths to finally track down the thief and prepared a special letter containing a test greeting card and a $ 20 bill for the delivery in the Wauwatosa area. The envelope was fitted with a transmitter, which would send a signal if the letter was opened.
Smith was also placed under surveillance and a USPS supervisor saw her rifling through trays assigned to other delivery routes and grabbing greeting cards, which she then put in her tray. Shortly after that, when she was on her delivery route, the transmitter signaled. When the postal agents then approached her, they did not only find the opened envelope and the $ 20 bill she put in her purse but also some 50 greeting cards in her bag and her USPS vehicle.
Later in July this year USPS vehicle sent to an auto salvage yard turned out to contain 6,625 greeting card envelopes and 540 personal checks as well as 45 unopened greeting cards. The car belonged to Smith as well.
In September, the postal worker eventually entered a plea agreement and admitted to stealing all those cards as she claimed that she needed money to pay her bills and take care of her four children. It is unclear if any amount of money or the letters were returned to the recipients. The average mail carrier salary in Wisconsin is $ 16 per hour.
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