Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Jury Finds Gaffney Postal Worker Guilty in Mail Theft Case

March 8, 2024

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » United States Department of Justice

GREENVILLE, S.C. —Takera A. Degree, 37, of Gaffney, was found guilty yesterday by a federal jury of stealing mail.

Evidence presented to the jury during trial showed that in the spring of 2023, the Inspector General’s Office of the U.S. Postal Service received information about the possible theft of mail from the Gaffney post office. Approximately 100 postal customers reported mailing out greeting cards and other items from the Gaffney post office that were never received at their destinations. The period of these customer complaints, according to postal employees, coincided with Degree’s short tenure with the post office (approximately October 2022 to March 2023).

Multiple postal employees observed Degree engage in questionable behavior such as keeping her personal handbag on carts containing outgoing mail, taking lengthy periods of time to retrieve mail from the blue boxes in front of the post office, and becoming agitated if another employee entered Degree’s work area.

On March 9, 2023, OIG special agents installed two covert cameras in the lookout gallery at the Gaffney post office. Agents reviewed video and saw that on March 11, 2023, Degree was taking greeting cards out of the mail stream and putting them inside a folded piece of white paper. About 10 minutes later, Degree was observed leaving Gaffney post office with a yellow plastic bag that appeared to have the envelopes inside. Agents again reviewed video from March 18, 2023, and observed Degree taking greeting cards out of the mail stream and putting them inside of a black backpack. About five minutes later, Degree was observed leaving Gaffney post office with the black backpack.

Based on the video, agents interviewed Degree. Degree admitted to taking U.S. Mail out of the Gaffney post office, opening the mail, and then discarding the envelopes. Degree chose to resign from her position at this time.

“Postal employees have a duty to safeguard mail that comes into their possession,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “My office is dedicated to prosecuting those who steal from the public, especially those in a position of public trust.”

United States District Judge Donald C. Coggins presided over the trial and will sentence Degree after reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the U.S. Probation Office. Degree faces a statutory maximum of five years.

This case was investigated by the Inspector General’s Office of U.S. Postal Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Winston Marosek and Bill Watkins prosecuted the case.

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