SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA - Nearly three dozen postal workers are facing charges, accusing them of keeping mail that was supposed to be delivered across Southern California.
Thirty-three men and women were charged by the federal authorities in 28 cases. One person was found to have kept tens of thousands of pieces of mail, the Los Angeles Times reported.
In a plea agreement, Sherry Watanabe was accused of keeping more than 48,000 pieces of mail at her home. The mail was supposed to be delivered on her route in Placentia, California.
One employee, a processing clerk for the USPS, was charged with stealing video games that were the property of the subscription service Gamefly.
Another employee is accused of taking mail order prescriptions.
A third is accused of taking checks and depositing them into her bank account.
A fourth, a former local president of the Mail Handlers Union, was accused of taking at least 166 cellphones from packages, the attorney's office said in a press release.
"Mail theft across Southern California has increased recently, which is significant since this type of crime tends to be a precursor to other crimes like identity theft and drug offenses. As a result, we are stepping up enforcement activities, including dealing aggressively with corruption within the Postal Service," Eileen Decker, United States attorney, said in a statement.
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