NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City postal worker has been arrested on federal charges, accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts from the mail she was trusted to process.
As CBS2’s Jessica Moore found out, she allegedly stole a child’s letter to Santa.
“It’s sad. The public trusts you to do a certain job and you take advantage of that,” the suspect’s neighbor said.
People in Rochdale Village, Queens were shocked to hear that one of their neighbors was allegedly pilfering from the post office.
“Things go missing and you don’t know what to do. You complain to the store you bought it from and you don’t realize it’s your mail person, so that’s actually very surprising,” Max Reid said.
According to the criminal complaint, Darlene Washington admitted that she stole roughly $1,200 every week in cash, gift cards, and lottery tickets over the past four years, while working at the city’s main processing center on West 34th Street.
Washington’s alleged scam came to an abrupt halt when the postal inspector tracked purchases made with a stolen Amazon gift card to her home in Jamaica, Queens.
Washington was arrested on January 5, and while the complaint shows she admitted to the crime, CBS2 had no luck asking Washington why she did it.
The special agent charged with investigating Washington said she also stole a child’s letter to Santa — when asked why, she said she wanted the stickers on the back of the envelope.
“You’re a government employee and you can’t buy your own stickers? You have to steal them?” neighbor D. Baker asked.
The postal service told CBS2, ‘Washington is still on the payroll, but is not interacting with the mail in any capacity.’
In 2015, USPS agents arrested 493 employees on charges of mail theft.