Accused mail burglar looks for gift cards

Jan. 12, 2006 at 2:19 PM

DETROIT, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Mail theft leads to the arrest of about 6,700 people each year, say authorities who estimate less than 10 percent are postal employees.

U.S. Postal officials call it the "sanctity of the seal," a necessary trustworthiness that means while someone drops a letter in a mailbox, it will arrive unopened at its destination. That, of course, is not always the case.

Take Metro Detroit, for example, where a mail carrier and a mail processor were charged in federal criminal complaints with stealing cash and gift cards from mail.

One suspect admitted simply bending envelopes to determine whether gift cards were inside, investigators told the Detroit Free Press. Both workers said they had been stealing from the mail for months.

Ronda Denise Portis, 33, a temporary employee from Oak Park, and Charles Lee Hack, 40, a full-time letter carrier from Livonia, each were charged in criminal complaints in U.S. District Court in Detroit. Both have been fired from the postal service.

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