Mar 8, 2010 7:28 PM by David Ortiviz

Three postal workers steal cash, gift cards in Pueblo

Three post office workers in Pueblo were busted for stealing thousands of dollars from the mail.

According to the Pueblo Chieftain, the workers admitted to opening close to three dozen letters and stealing nearly $5,000 in cash and gift cards. The three postal workers were caught and are being punished.

It happened at the main post office on Fortino Blvd. in Pueblo. Two postal clerks and a letter carrier caught stealing money from sealed envelopes. It apparently happened, month after month since last August.

News First 5 asked people at the post office what they thought of the incident. "It's wrong. They shouldn't have done it," said one woman named Lori.  "Well actually I think its pretty cheap," said another woman named Tanya. "That's no cool. You shouldn't take money or gift cards from people's letters," said another woman named Leah.

Whether its a gift card, cash or even a letter, people want assurances that their mail won't be tampered with once they drop it off. So what's the post office doing to make sure this doesn't happen again? We didn't get a straight answer. The Pueblo Postmaster referred us to the Office of Inspector General who didn't respond before our deadline. However, their website says "Unfortunately, a small number of employees abuse the public's trust."

In 2009, the Inspector General's office investigated internal mail thefts across the United States, which resulted in nearly 446 arrests and nearly twice as many administrative actions.

"We had that happen to us once in another state we lived at, where postal employees were stealing--I don't think its right," said a woman named Sandra.

The inspector general says dishonest employees are prosecuted and terminated.

Unfortunately, the USPS says letters and packages sent first class cannot be tracked. So what are your options? You can ship Priority Mail--they tell you when your mail was delivered and who signed for it. Rates start around $5. You could also wire money electronically through companies like Western Union, Moneygram and Paypal.

Bottom line, avoid sending cash in the mail, which can be lost or stolen.

To learn more about the USPS's track and confirm services click here.


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