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Postal employee admits to massive mail theft

3:38 PM, Aug 11, 2010   |    comments
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David Schmauder, a 48-year-old former USPS employee, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of theft by mail in federal court on Monday.

A plea agreement calls for Schmauder to be sentenced to one and a half to two years in prison at a sentencing hearing in November.

The plea deal details Schmauder's penchant for pinching packages from the post office where he worked in Highlands Ranch.

Upon being observed and caught by USPS special agents in January 2010, Schmauder admitted to stealing about 50 packages two or three nights a week since January 2008.

The thefts "became addictive and escalated over time" said Schmauder, according to court documents.

He targeted boxes from online retailers including Amazon.com, stealing CDs, DVDs and Victoria's Secret lingerie.

9Wants to Know became aware of the investigation in the spring of 2010 when Schmauder resigned from his job at the Highlands Ranch post office at Lincoln and Quebec.

Court documents indicate Schmauder would give the stolen lingerie to his wife, while reselling the CDs and DVDs to Angelo's Movies, Music and Gifts, which bills itself as the largest independent music store in the Denver area.

Receipts showed Angelo's paid Schmauder $85,174 for 11,829 items.

USPS Special Agent In-Charge David Montoya said Angelo's involvement was referred to Littleton Police, but charges were not filed against anyone working there.

"I never really inquired to this guy as to where he was getting his merchandise," owner Angelo Coiro told 9Wants to Know investigator Kyle Clark.

"He brought in so much random stuff," Coiro said. "We assumed he had a legitimate business."

Coiro acknowledged that Schmauder sold more items to Angelo's than any other re-seller during that time. Coiro says knowing he re-sold stolen merchandise makes him feel sick.

"We scrutinize people a hell of a lot more now than we used to," Coiro said.

Coiro says he believes that, as an Amazon.com seller himself, some of the products he bought from Schmauder were his own intercepted packages.

The postal service estimated losses at $283,913 but admitted there's no way to know how much Schmauder stole. The plea agreement calls for Schmauder to pay a fine of $4,000 to $40,000.

Montoya said Schmauder's night shift position allowed him to work in a more isolated setting with less management oversight. Despite the volume of Schmauder's thefts, Montoya said he did not think there was a failture of security at the Highlands Ranch post office.

In court paperwork, Schmauder said he had worked for the postal service for 19 years before he began stealing mail.

Schmauder's attorney, federal public defender Kathryn Stimson, declined to comment.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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