People across the world trust their national postal systems not just to deliver their mails but to also uphold the assurance of safety and integrity that they promise. However, unethical employees often put this commitment in jeopardy. In one such example of dereliction of duty for personal gains, a 32-year-old US Postal employee admitted to stealing dozens of mails.
Nathaniel Bonilla, from Bristol Connecticut, pleaded guilty on Monday to the theft of mail by a postal employee, which is a federal crime. At the time of confrontation by investigators, over 40 gift cards and nearly 40 opened envelopes were found in his possession. He was also captured on camera using a gift card to purchase merchandise. Bonilla has been released on a personal bond of $50,000 pending sentencing.
Stealing Gift Cards, Cash
According to statements made in court and documents presented, Bonilla served as a mail processing clerk at the US Postal Service's Process and Distribution Center (PDC) in Hartford, Connecticut. What was his tool of choice to open envelopes? A razor blade. Using the simple instrument, he removed dozens of prepaid debit cards or gift cards and cash from mails between April 2020 and October 2020.
He is said to have used these monetary tokens for his personal use. However, Bonilla's luck ran out soon. A woman from New York had mailed a Home Depot gift card worth $500 to a family member residing in Torrington, Connecticut. While the relative received the envelope, it was found to have been tampered with, and the gift card had been removed.
Caught In the Act
Subsequently, as Bonilla used the gift card stolen from the Torrington resident's mail to buy merchandise at a Home Depot, he was captured on in-store surveillance footage. He was confronted by investigators on 16 October 2020 as he was opening a mail with a razor blade. On the day of the search, his personal bag was found to contain 44 gift cards that had been stolen previously while he was at work.
This was not all. His work workstation at the Hartford PDC was found to contain 37 envelopes that he had opened. He was arrested on 20 November 2020. Bonilla is set to be sentenced on 20 February 2022. The former US Postal Employeefaces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.