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Three Wauwatosa USPS workers charged for stealing greeting cards and personal checks

WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- In February, CBS 58 first told you about five area postal workers under investigation for possibly stealing mail, now at least three have them been charged.

All three worked out of the Wauwatosa Post Office.

Court documents show Ebony Smith pleaded guilty to stealing up to $100 a week from greeting cards to, “pay bills and take care of her four children.” She was a mail carrier in Wauwatosa.

Inside Smith’s car investigators found 6,625 First Class greeting card envelopes and 540 personal checks.

They were all taken between March 2017 and January 2018 from people living in two Wauwatosa zip codes: 53213 and 53226.

Smith is now facing a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Lavonda Wright, also a mail carrier serving Wauwatosa, admitted to stealing mail for about year, "because of a gambling issue, to help pay bills and to take care of family."

She is also facing five years in prison.

Tina Jenkins, responsible for sorting mail in Wauwatosa, stole more than 160 pieces of mail. Many of them had donations to breast cancer, police, and veteran funds inside.

She admitted to stealing about $200 to $300 every week.

Jenkins was sentenced to two years of probation and has to pay back $1,200 in restitution to the Breast Cancer Research & Support Fund and the National Police and Trooper Association.

Even though these postal workers have been caught in the act, some Wauwatosa residents are still concerned about their mail.

"I drop my mail off at the post office now," Heather Kyte, a Wauwatosa resident who had her mail stolen, said. "I make a special trip and I'm not close to the post office."

USPS recommends never sending cash in the mail and also signing up for their free Informed Delivery Service.

"It's an opportunity for the customer to preview their mail before it arrives in their home," Sean Hargadon, USPS Spokesperson, said.

People who sign up will get an email every day with a picture, of each piece of mail they are expected to get that day.

So they will know if the mail doesn't arrive.

"That's something where you'd want to notify your local post office," Hargadon said. "I'm supposed to be getting this, it didn't come in. What might be the cause?"

Click here to sign up for the free service.

Anyone can contact the USPS Office of Inspector General Hotline at 1-888-USPS-OIG (1-888-877-7644) or file a complaint online at www.uspsoig.gov to report alleged fraud, waste of funds or resources, mail theft and other postal crimes committed by postal employees or contractors

PACKAGE SAFETY TIPS From USPS:

Reduce the risk: Don’t leave your mail or parcels unattended: If you’re going away for a few days, and don’t want to risk leaving your package unattended, take advantage of the Postal Service’s Request Hold Mail service. Your package will be held securely at the Post Office until you're back in town.

Be a buddy-help a neighbor in need: If you have a stay-at-home neighbor, enlist their help. Ask to schedule your package deliveries to their address, increasing the likelihood of a safe pickup.

Take control of your package’s destiny. The Postal Service provides real-time tracking for a wide-range of products and services to help you customize your package delivery.

  • Monitor your package’s status from tender to final delivery on USPS.com. Registered users can also receive status updates via text alerts delivered to their mobile devices.
  • Personalize delivery providing specific instructions authorizing your carrier to leave your package in a specified location. Visit USPS.com, track your package, and select Delivery Instructions.
  • Redirect your domestic package prior to delivery, using USPS Package Intercept, available on most letters, flats and packages that contain a tracking or extra services barcode. You can have it held at a Post Office as a Hold for Pickup or sent to a different domestic address.
  • Schedule your delivery date, by using Priority Mail Express. It’s the Postal Service’s fastest domestic service (with limited exceptions), available 365 days a year. It guarantees a delivery date to better manage receipt.
  • Upgrade your package’s security to protect it every step of the way by choosing Registered Mail service-the Postal Service’s most secure form of mail delivery.
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