A U.S. postal worker admitted to stealing more than 6,000 greeting cards filled with cash and checks in Wisconsin.
As part of a plea deal, Ebony Lavonne Smith, 20, of Milwaukee pleaded guilty to theft or receipt of stolen mail on Sept.12 and will be sentenced at a later date.
Last summer, Wauwatosa residents complained to the U.S. Postal Service that they were not receiving graduation, wedding, birthday and sympathy cards in the Zip codes of 53213 and 53226.
Smith, who was identified as the mail carrier in those areas, had started working on March 23, 2015, and on March 28, 2017, was assigned to deliver mail in Wauwatosa, according to court records.
Online court documents explain how Smith was caught.
On Jan. 25, a letter containing a test greeting card and a $20 bill was prepared for delivery in the Wauwatosa area. Inside the envelope was a transmitter that signaled when it was opened.
On this same date,the envelope was placed in a container earmarked for Smith’s delivery route.
While under surveillance, a USPS supervisor first observed Smith rifling through trays assigned to other delivery routes. Smith removed greeting cards, placing them in her tray. Shortly thereafter, Smith picked up the mail for her delivery route, including the blue test envelope, and brought it to her assigned postal vehicle.
Smith began delivering the mail and when she arrived at the address of the test greeting card, the transmitter activated, signaling that the envelope had been opened. At this time, postal agents approached Smith, who was standing outside of her car.
The agent located the opened envelope, which no longer contained the $20 bill. The agent allowed Smith to retrieve her purse from the vehicle, and she gave the agent the test $20 bill, which was in the side pocket of her purse.
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SOURCE: USA Today; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Karen Pilarski