A local United States Postal Service mail carrier stole and used gift cards and had a stack of undelivered mail in his vehicle, a federal criminal complaint alleges.
Terrence Young, 37, is scheduled for an arraignment and plea hearing June 2 in Dayton’s U.S. District Court, according to court documents filed March 4 but only unsealed this week.
A bill of information indicates Young is accused of one count of delay or destruction of mail, which is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Messages seeking comment from Young and his federal public defender were not returned.
Young’s employment with the United States Postal Service ended in March, according to Special Agent Scott Balfour of the postal service’s Office of the Inspector General, what he called the postal service’s “internal affairs.”
In February 2014, at least 11 customers on Young’s route from the Paul Laurence Dunbar Post Office at 4323 W. Third St. said they weren’t regularly getting their mail, the complaint said.
Customers said they had utilities shut off, lost insurance, missed appointments and courts dates, lost out on benefits for their children and paid penalties for late payments because their mail was delivered late or not at all.
“If an individual was found guilty and is sentenced by a judge, ultimately it’s up to that judge to determine what restitution would be appropriate,” Balfour said of the general process for customers to recoup losses. “Our agents work to identify people who have been victims and we will present that to the court.”
Court documents show that test envelopes were sent out, a GPS tracking device was placed on Young’s work vehicle and, later, a video camera was installed and showed Young violating “many USPS guidelines and rules,” including stealing grocery coupons and gift cards.
The GPS reports indicated Young allegedly sat at a vacant lot outside of his route for 15 to 50 minutes several times per work day, according to affidavit written by written by Jodie Carr, another special agent with the OIG.
According to the complaint, other issues from people on Young’s route included hundreds of post cards not being delivered, mail showing up late appearing to be tampered with, cash being removed from cards. Store surveillance video showed Young using stolen gift cards.
“I witnessed Young stealing Kroger coupons from Route 006 mail,” Carr wrote of video from a hidden surveillance camera. “He opened the coupons, pulled them out of the packaging and then rubber banded them together and put them in his personal bag.”
Carr wrote that on Feb. 26 Young was stopped by three agents, read his rights and admitted to using gift cards. He also denied having mail in his personal vehicle although Carr wrote she “could plainly see a white tub of bundled mail in the back seat covered with a USPS jacket” that agents later found contained 383 pieces of mail.
In the Postal Service’s last half-year report to Congress from April 1 to Sept. 30, 2014, they reported 846 investigations of mail theft. Those led to 173 arrests, 129 indictments or bills of information, 186 convictions and 484 administrative actions.
Balfour stressed that those numbers represent a very small percentage of the nearly half-million postal employees.
“Most postal employees do work hard, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, to get the mail to the customers,” Balfour said. “We do take these cases very seriously and we seek prosecution and individuals’ removal when we do identify somebody who is responsible for stealing the mail.”
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