A postal worker suspected of stealing gift cards has been put on administrative leave after being caught in the act of opening mail, hours after an exclusive NBC 5 Responds report, a special agent with the USPS Office of Inspector General confirmed Friday.
The employee works at the USPS Distribution and Processing Center in Palatine, the agent said. Investigators now say other employees may be involved.
The worker is suspected of stealing $500 in gift cards that a Lincolnshire grandmother mailed to her granddaughters last August. Postal authorities made the discovery after NBC 5 Responds brought Janet Irgang’s case to their attention last September.
For months following the initial finding, the employee continued to work at the center.
"How can they not prosecute him? How can they not stop him?" Irgang said. "He belongs out of their system."
The Inspector General’s office told NBC5 Responds the suspect connected to Irgang’s case has been questioned but not arrested. An investigation remained ongoing and could ultimately end up in federal court.
USPS also said in a statement that type of "alleged behavior within the Postal Service is not tolerated."
"The vast majority of U.S. Postal Service personnel are dedicated, hard-working public servants dedicated to moving mail to its proper destination who would never consider engaging in any form of criminal behavior," the statement read. "This type of alleged behavior within the Postal Service is not tolerated and when a postal employee betrays that trust of the American people, the special agents in the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General vigorously investigate these matters as we did in this instance and work with local, state and federal prosecutors to hold accountable those employees who violate that public trust. If anyone is believed to be the victim of mail theft, they should contact the USPS OIG Hotline at 1-888-USPS-OIG (1-888-877-7644) or visit www.uspsoig.gov and to file an on-line complaint.