7 postal workers charged with mail theft from Rhode Island distribution hub

U.S. Post Office Corliss Street in Providence. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Federal prosecutors charged seven postal workers with stealing mail — targeting brightly colored cards that might contain checks or gift cards — as part of mail theft ring, officials said Wednesday.

A supervisor and six workers collaborated to remove mail from a United States Postal Service distribution center in Providence, sorting, separating and concealing mail they believed to contain cash, checks or gift cards, officials said. One defendant was caught with a backpack of stolen mail that included over $1.3 million worth of checks, officials said.

“The misuse of public employment for private gain is both a serious crime and profound breach of the public trust,” U.S. Attorney Zachary A. Cunha said Wednesday in a statement. The arrests and federal charges “send a clear message that those who engage in public corruption for personal gain will be held accountable,” he said.

One of the seven was charged earlier this month, and the other six were arrested Wednesday, officials said. Documents filed in federal court didn’t identify their court-appointed lawyers.

Investigators say the participants slipped mail into their backpacks and met after work at a nearby location to open the envelopes and divide the loot. An investigation was launched after people began reporting undelivered mail or envelopes with missing contents starting in March 2023, investigators said.

“The conduct alleged in the criminal complaint is disgraceful and our office will continue to investigate postal employees who violate the public’s trust,” said Matthew Modafferi, regional special agent in charge for the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.

More from 630WPRO.COM