Birthday card arrives empty after USPS worker steals Costco, Amazon cards, feds say

Susan Walsh/AP
·1 min read

A birthday card that was supposed to be packed full of gift cards was empty when a man opened it, the Department of Justice said.

A former Postal Service mail processing clerk pleaded guilty Wednesday, Jan. 26, to taking Costco and Amazon gift cards from someone else’s mail, the Department of Justice said.

He faces up to five years in prison and could be ordered to pay a $250,000 fine.

On March 26, a customer with a locking mailbox in Missoula, Montana, reported items had been stolen from his birthday card, officials said.

“The sender confirmed that she mailed the card on March 20, 2021 from Whitefish and that it contained a $200 gift card to Costco, two $100 gift cards to Amazon and $40 cash,” the Department of Justice said in a news release.

At the time, the man worked as a mail processing clerk and had spent hours manually sorting letters, authorities said.

“An investigation determined that (the man) presented his Costco membership card and the gift card to complete a purchase at the Costco in Missoula and presented his receipt to a Costco employee at the exit,” officials said.

The man will be sentenced in the U.S. District court June 1.

“The vast majority of Postal Service employees are honest, hard-working civil servants,” Eric Thomas, USPS assistant special agent in charge, told McClatchy News in an email. “However, should there be anyone who abuses their position for personal gains, the (Postal Service Office of Inspector General) will aggressively investigate those matters to ensure the integrity of the U.S. Postal Service.”

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