This article first appeared on Nov. 8. 2013.
A driver at a U.S. Postal Service processing center in White Plains, New York has been arrested on charges that he stole around 40,000 plastic pallets from the facility, selling them for $1 each, according to a news report. Postal pallets are worth in the range of $18 to $20 each, putting the replacement value of the pallets close to $800,000
The thefts apparently went unnoticed at first, beginning early last year and ending this month after the buyer agreed to wear a wire for authorities, according to a complaint filed last month.
The driver is accused of stealing two tractor-trailers full of 400 to 500 pallets per month throughout last year, with the sales increasing to around 10 tractor-trailer loads per month from January to May. A postal inspector eventually monitored some of the sales and arrested the driver on Oct. 21, 2013 during another alleged theft, after hearing the cooperating witness tell the driver, “Here’s the $500.” The driver was later found with the money.
The driver did not enter a plea. His lawyer said he planned to contest the charges. “The government is wrong,” the lawyer said. “He didn’t sell anything to anybody.”
The accused has worked as a tractor-trailer operator at the Postal Service since 1988, spending a good portion of those years at the Westchester Processing and Distribution Center, where the alleged thefts occurred. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
According to USPS, its inspectors recovered about 43,000 plastic pallets and other postal equipment worth more than $1.7 million being misused, stored unnecessarily or located outside the postal network.