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Probe of mail theft ring confirmed

Staff writer

The U.S. Postal Service confirmed this week that Marion post office is being investigated after allegations that mail has been stolen and credit card statements opened.

Greg Godfrey, with the Office of Inspector General, confirmed the investigation, which was disclosed after a county lake resident told the newspaper that a postal employee had allowed him and others access to the office with the intent of stealing packages or credit card numbers from mail.

The lake resident, Gary Carpenter, said the employee been suspended but was allowed to return to work even though an investigator allegedly had told postmaster Lori Kelsey not to permit her.

When asked by the newspaper, Kelsey retorted angrily, then refused to talk.

“I love how people talk,” Kelsey said. “Where are you hearing this?”

Told that more than one person had reached out to the paper and that the allegation had later been posted on social media, Kelsey said she took social media off her phone.

“I don’t really have anything to say to the paper,” Kelsey said. “We have a media person to talk to the papers.”

Kelsey did not provide contact information but a spokesman did phone the newspaper.

“The U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General does have an active investigation at the Marion, Kansas, post office,” Godfrey wrote in an email. “As an open investigation, no additional information will be released at this time.

“The USPS OIG considers these allegations to be a very serious matter. When these types of allegations are made, USPS OIG special agents vigorously investigate these matters, as we did in this instance. It is important to note that an allegation is merely an accusation.

“The USPS employs more than 633,108 employees and is the largest federal civilian workforce in the country. This type of alleged behavior within the postal service is not tolerated and the overwhelming majority of postal service employees, which serve the public, are honest, hardworking, and trustworthy individuals who would never consider engaging in any type of criminal behavior.”

Carpenter said he had dated the post office employee, and was taken inside the post office after hours and was shown how mail could be stolen.

“She doesn’t belong in a situation where she has access to people’s packages,” Carpenter said.

According to Carpenter, mail thefts may be linked to a group of individuals seeking to pay for drugs.

He provided screen shots of a number of text messages between himself and Kelsey discussing the criminal investigation and his credit card bills arriving opened.

Unauthorized charges showed up on his credit card bills several times, Carpenter said.

No charges related to the investigation have been filed and Godfrey did not confirm or deny whether a postal employee was involved.

Last modified Jan. 28, 2021

 

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